While there is evidence that some members of geriatric communities do actually benefit from the increased immunity acquired from exposure to other residents’ microorganisms, it’s also true that others may be placed at risk when pathogens are transmitted.
San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) July 12, 2017
Dr. Julia Oh, a highly respected microbiome scientist at the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, is the most recent recipient of a Microbiome Impact Grant from uBiome, the leading microbial genomics company. Dr. Oh will collaborate with uBiome on a study investigating the role of the skin microbiome in the transmission of pathogens between elderly people in geriatric communities.
The new study will focus on the skin microbiome of elderly people living in geriatric communities, seeking to understanding its role in the prevalence and transmission of potential pathogens. The work will begin by developing a better understanding of the baseline characteristics of the geriatric skin microbiome itself.
Residents of geriatric communities are at risk of infection through colonisation and antibiotic resistant bacteria, and transmission of pathogens often occurs when patients and healthcare workers come into contact with one another’s skin surfaces, either directly or indirectly.
The skin microbiome is part of the human microbiome, the ecosystem of trillions of microorganisms that live in and on the human body. Many of these microbes play important parts in supporting life. For example, gut bacteria aid digestion and enable the synthesis of vitamins. Pathogenic bacteria, however, can be associated with a range of conditions and diseases, some serious.
The skin is the human body’s largest organ and provides a home for a large number, and wide variety, of microorganisms – generally forming a delicate balance with their host. When this balance is disrupted on either side of the equation, however, skin disorders or infections may occur.
uBiome uses precision sequencing™ technology to generate detailed analyses of the human microbiome. In terms of the skin microbiome, the company’s technology produces a comprehensive report on its composition from a simple swab of an individual’s skin surface.
Dr. Oh is Assistant Professor at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, based in Farmington, Connecticut, and heads its Oh Lab. She received her B.A. in Biology from Harvard University and her PhD in Genetics at Stanford University, where she worked with respected Dr. Ronald Davis, Professor of Biochemistry & Genetics and Director of the Stanford Genome Technology Center at Stanford University. Before joining the Jackson Laboratory, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Julia Segre, at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Oh’s principal research focus is on the potential to deliver disease treatments via the human microbiome. Her findings have been published in Nature, Nature Medicine, Genome Research, Genome Medicine and other journals. She received the BioMed Central Research Award in Microbiology and Immunology for her work on the human skin microbiota in 2013, and in 2014 was named one of the top postdoctoral fellows at the NHGRI.
In January of this year, Dr. Oh received a prestigious four-year, $792,000 grant from the American Cancer Society to investigate the relationship between the skin microbiome and skin cancer.
Dr. Julia Oh, Assistant Professor at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, and head of the Oh Lab, says: “I am excited by this collaboration with uBiome, which I believe will facilitate translational microbiome research. This is a great opportunity for academia and industry to work together on a project with significant potential. While there is evidence that some members of geriatric communities do actually benefit from the increased immunity acquired from exposure to other residents’ microorganisms, it’s also true that others may be placed at risk when pathogens are transmitted. My work with uBiome should help us better understand the mechanisms that may be involved.”
Dr. Jessica Richman, PhD, CEO and co-founder of uBiome, adds: “Estimates by the US Department for Health and Human Services say we can expect there to be around 98 million older persons in this country by 2060 – more than double the 2014 figure. It’s inevitable that an increasing number of older people will live in geriatric communities. With healthcare-associated infections also on the rise, Dr. Oh’s work is incredibly important, and welcomed. We look forward to our collaboration and the potential to positively impact the health of the aging members of our communities.”
Dr. Zachary Apte, PhD, CTO and co-founder of uBiome, comments: “uBiome’s Microbiome Impact Grants are designed to fast-track studies with the greatest potential to affect human health and well-being. Dr. Oh already has an impressive track record of microbiome research, focusing on real health issues as well as being a leader in the science of skin microbiota. We are excited to help Dr. Oh accelerate her existing research as well as press forward into new frontiers with a uBiome Microbiome Impact Grant.”
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 transform the science of the microbiome into useful products and services that improve people’s lives.
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