OpenBiome co-hosts translational microbiome workshop at MIT

Nonprofit stool bank hosts workshop with researchers from the MIT Center for Microbiome Informatics & Therapeutics

MEDFORD, Mass Researchers from OpenBiome, the first public stool bank, and the MIT Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics brought together over 60 members of Boston’s clinical research community to discuss the current state of translational microbiome research.

As the name suggests, translational research aims to apply insights from basic science to improve clinical care and patient outcomes, closing the gap from research “bench-to-bedside.” During the workshop, physicians, scientists, students and public health advocates shared their current research projects and brainstormed solutions to problems facing translational research in this space.

The workshop was held the Broad Institute at MIT, commencing with a keynote address from Dr. Alan Moss, a leading researcher and gastroenterologist from Beth Israel Medical Center, whose work focuses on finding new applications of fecal microbiota transplantation for inflammatory bowel diseases. He spoke about the importance of designing effective clinical trials that measure objective end points and consider long-term follow up.

OpenBiome and MIT researchers organized this workshop to bring together the microbiome research community in Boston. Participants engaged in interactive group discussions, addressing topics such as “Law & the Microbiome” and “Microbiome Discoveries.” They also formed small groups to discuss challenges facing translational research and shared the outcomes of their brainstorming sessions with the larger audience. One group, tasked with the question of how to find donors for FMT in other indications, came up with a two step solution: First, “find donors that work and [then] study the heck out of them.”

Other presentations included Elaine Vo, PhD, who discussed OpenBiome’s capabilities for providing cutting-edge research tools, including the new FMT Capsule G3, a fecal transplant pill that offers the first non-invasive delivery method for C. difficile patients. Other key presenters included Eric Alm PhD, an Associate Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT, and Mark Smith PhD, co-founder and Research Director of OpenBiome.

“We were thrilled to bring together some of the field’s leading researchers for a day of educational discussions and collaboration,” said Dr. Mark Smith, PhD, Research Director at OpenBiome. “Translational microbiome research is poised to unlock unprecedented therapies and diagnostics to help patients with a range of diseases. By bringing together the best minds in this space, we hope to work together to make these possibilities reality.”

To learn more details about the day’s presentations and discussions, please contact the workshop’s coordinator Lindsay Eysenbach at lindsay@openbiome.org


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