Altering Microbial Communities in the Gut


Martin Kriegel, MD, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Immunobiology and Rheumatology, Yale School of Medicine

Project: The Kriegel lab is interested in understanding how genetics shape the microbiome, the collection of all microbes living on us. These microbes are needed for immune and metabolic functions of healthy people. Preliminary data from the Kriegel lab suggests that an alteration in an autoimmune-predisposing gene, that is known to contribute to type 1 diabetes, changes the composition of a group of gut microbes. It is speculated that the change in the gut microbial community in subjects that carry this genetic risk factor, leads to immune dysregulation. Kriegel plans to collaborate with Herold at Yale and colleagues at Jackson Laboratory to test if type 1 diabetes patients with this autoimmune predisposition harbor similar microbiome changes. If so, they want to study if the altered microbial communities in the gut affect certain immune cells to facilitate autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.