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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Towards a Mechanistic Understanding of How Bile Acids Modulate Gut Microbiome Composition and Function

Bile acids (BAs) are synthesized in the liver, have antimicrobial effects, facilitate the absorption of lipids, and act as hormones to modulate glucose homeostasis, lipid metabolism, energy expenditure and intestinal motility. The gut microbiome influences human health in part by altering the composition of the BA pool through their ability to chemical transform host generated BAs. Microbially modified BAs have distinct effects on host physiology, but we currently have a very limited understanding of the factors that control the abundances of individual BAs within the host.  The overarching goal of this project is to establish causal relationships between the BA pool and the gut microbiome composition. To accomplish this, the project team will apply a cross-disciplinary approach that combines bottom-up and top-down strategies together with in vitro and in vivo experimental designs encompassing anaerobic microbiology, metabolomics, synthetic communities, germ-free mouse models and computational modeling.


Daniel Amador-Noguez, Associate Professor of bacteriology



Frederico Rey, associate professor of bacteriology

Ophelia Venturelli, assistant professor of biochemistry