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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Microbiome Initiative

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the OVCRGE will extend end dates on OVCRGE research related funding that has been affected by our current situation. We will also consider re-allocations from existing budget line item (e.g. travel) that are also affected. Please contact Russell Schwalbe ( or Jessica Wipperfurth ( to discuss your specific needs.


Thirteen projects ranging from a better understanding of how gut microbes might influence Alzheimer’s Disease, to examining the impact of daycare on a child’s microbiome and the risk of infection with drug-resistant pathogens, have been selected for funding through the 2017 UW-Madison Microbiome Initiative.

The microbiome initiative is part of a series of strategic initiatives launched by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education to seed research that is likely to galvanize the UW’s research community and to position UW-Madison faculty to be more competitive when applying for federal funding in specific research areas. To learn more about the application process that was used, visit Microbiome Initiative award application process.

“We are very thankful to the Chancellor’s Office for supporting the first of these strategic research initiatives. The UW-Madison Microbiome Initiative is intended to lead investigators in various fields across campus to make discoveries that will significantly impact our understanding of the microbiome,” says Marsha Mailick, vice chancellor for research and graduate education. “UW-Madison has a high concentration of microbiome researchers but they are spread throughout the campus. This initiative helps bring many of them together in joint ventures that can be truly transformative in areas of human health and the environment.”

The UW-Madison Microbiome Initiative awards include eight research projects, four infrastructure projects and one research community enhancement award to support a conference on the upper airway microbiome in health and disease.

Collaborators on the projects include 58 UW-Madison faculty representing six schools and colleges across campus.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and the Graduate School also provided support for the initiative. For research and infrastructure grants, the award was up to $250,000.  For research community enhancements, the award was up to $10,000.  The award period is two years with one year of funding awarded at a time.

The projects are:


A Germ-free Mouse Facility for the UW-Madison Community

Establishment of a Population-based Microbiome Research Core in the Survey of The Health of Wisconsin

The Microbiome Hub: Enabling a Biological Revolution at UW-Madison

The UW-Madison Microbiotron: A Modular Experimental Platform to Crack Open the Plant-Soil-Microbial Black Box


Contributions of Gut Microbes to Alzheimer’s Disease

Developing Model-Guided Frameworks to Dissect Butyrate Production in the Human Gut Microbiota

Examining the Potential of the Microbiome in Children to Reduce Antibiotic Resistance: the EPIC Study

Gut-Brain Communication: How a Resident Microbe in the Brain Prevents Weight Gain in Animals Fed a High Fat Diet

Gut Microbial Metabolism and Host Epigenetic States

Harnessing Microbiomes for Global Nitrogen Cycle Management

The Tomato Microbiome in Sickness and in Health

The Weathering Microbiome

Community Enhancement

Upper Airway Microbiome: Principles for Mucosal Biology in Health and Disease