Stanford Medicine and uBiome Investigate Relationship Between Gut Bacteria and Diabetes

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uBiome, the leader in microbial genomics, is partnering with Professor Michael Snyder of Stanford’s School of Medicine to conduct a comprehensive research study that will investigate host-microbiome relationships during the onset of type 2 diabetes. Findings could lead to a personalized medicine approach to diabetes management.

Dr. Snyder's lab at Stanford is unquestionably a world leader in the rapidly evolving field of personalized medicine. [He and his team] plan to make a significant contribution to better understanding the role of the microbiome in diabetes.

Microbial genomics leader, uBiome, is collaborating with a team of leading genomics researchers to study individuals with a risk of developing diabetes -- before they contract the condition. Extensive sampling of blood, urine, and microorganisms in both the nose and gut will enable the study to understand more about possible relationships between the human and microbial genomes during the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

A team of leading experts, headed by Professor Michael Snyder of the School of Medicine at Stanford University will systematically explore both the human genome and the microbiome of individuals at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, with the aim of learning how microorganisms in the gut interact with the human host during the onset of diabetes. The study will involve collecting regular samples from a cohort of one hundred participants over an extended time that will include both healthy periods and episodes of stress. Samples will be taken from participants at many timepoints, involving the collection of fecal, nasal, urine, and blood specimens.

Professor Snyder is the Stanford Ascherman Professor and Chair of Genetics as well as the Director of the Center of Genomics and Personalized Medicine at the School of Medicine at Stanford University. He is a leader in the field of functional genomics and proteomics and one of the major participants in the ENCODE project. ENCODE is a National Human Genome Research Institute consortium aiming to identify all functional elements in the human genome sequence. His laboratory study was the first to perform a large-scale functional genomics project in any organism and has developed many technologies in genomics and proteomics. Professor Snyder is the author of over 500 scientific papers and has co-founded several biotechnology companies.

Professor Snyder’s project originally came about through personal experience, as he observed that his own blood sugar levels were increasing more than normal. Despite the skepticism of his doctor, through studying his own genetics Professor Snyder learned that he had Type 2 diabetes, even though there was no history of it in his family. He was able to diagnose himself using what he calls his “integrative personal omics profile,” or iPop.

Studies with mice have shown that directly altering their microbiomes lowers glucose levels. Also, diabetic and healthy humans are known to have differences in the gut microbiome. But this new research will be the first to study the “omics” (an informal term for the study of genomics, proteomics and/or metabolomics) of a relatively large cohort over an extended period.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most widespread health problems in the US. According to the American Diabetes Association, 29.1 million Americans, or around 9.3% of the population, had diabetes in 2012. More than a quarter of these (8.1 million) were undiagnosed. Although type 1 diabetes is the most serious form of the condition, Type 2 is the most common – affecting 27.9 million Americans. Furthermore, there are currently an estimated 79 million prediabetics in the US who have a lifetime risk of diabetes conversion of 50%.

Professor Mike Snyder of the School of Medicine at Stanford University notes: “Overall, our longitudinal study is expected to reveal global changes in the microbiome of patients at an unprecedented level of detail and allow us to identify the molecules and pathways that change during viral infections and during diabetic onset and progression.”

Dr. Jessica Richman, CEO and co-founder of uBiome, says: “Professor Snyder’s lab at Stanford is unquestionably a world leader in the rapidly evolving field of personalized medicine. Among other breakthrough research, he and his team plan to make a significant contribution to better understanding the role of the microbiome in diabetes, a condition that affects almost one in ten US adults. We’re grateful to Professor Snyder for his tireless, visionary work and glad to be a part of it.”

Dr. Zachary Apte, CTO and co-founder of uBiome adds: “This project, which should greatly increase our understanding of Type 2 diabetes, will require timely, precision sequencing of a substantial number of fecal samples. It’s a privilege to be involved in the study, and to have the opportunity to help make a major contribution to the important work that Professor Snyder and his team are undertaking.”

Founded in 2012, uBiome is the world’s leading microbial genomics company. uBiome is funded by Y Combinator, Andreessen Horowitz, 8VC, and other leading investors.

uBiome’s mission is to explore important research questions about the microbiome and to develop accurate and reliable clinical tests based on the microbiome.

Julie Taylor
Ph: +1 (415) 212-9214

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Julie Taylor
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