Research

microbiome_streamplot

Human epithelial surfaces are colonized by trillions of commensal microbes representing thousands of unique bacterial species, commonly refered to as the human microbiota. The David Lab seeks to understand, predict, and manipulate how human microbiota behave over time. We are particularly interested in how the dynamics of these human-associated microbial communities are shaped by human nutrition. Our research also includes developing tools and methods to pursue this interest. Below are several research projects underway in the lab.

Chromatographic Analysis of Metabolites

The study of fiber or prebiotic intake and of microbial metabolites require specialized laboratory instruments that allow us to gather data on these variables. The David Lab uses a high-pressure anion-exchange (HPAE) chromatograph, a type of high-performance...

Daily Stool Reports and Health Behavior

Poor diet is the leading risk factor for mortality in the United States. Despite widespread awareness of the benefits of good nutrition, sustained dietary change is difficult to achieve. This is in part because we make decisions about what foods to...

Dietary Assessment by DNA Metabarcoding

Dietary assessment is an essential component of human microbiota studies. Existing methods of dietary assessment require study respondents to recall or record their food intake, rendering them time-intensive and prone to subjectivity and bias. To circumvent...

Finding a Standard Approach to Promote Butyrate Production

Prebiotics are dietary carbohydrates that humans are unable to digest and thus pass through the stomach and small intestines to become sources of food for gut microbiota, stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine. These bacteria...

High-Throughput Culture Using Microfluidics

Prevailing methods of culturing gut bacterial strains are often time- and labor-intensive and do not scale to the diversity of microbes across human populations. An alternative approach, developed in the David Lab, is to culture gut bacteria in nano-...

Long-Term Perturbation Experiments in an Artificial Gut System

A significant barrier to studying perturbations to human gut microbiota is the difficulty of direct sampling from the distal colon over time. Because such sampling is not practicable, the David Lab uses an ex vivo model of the distal colon that consists...

Prebiotic Effects on Human Cognition and Behavior

Beyond gut health, recent studies have shown that butyrate may also be associated with beneficial effects on cognition, behavior, and physiology in rodents and in humans. This communication exchange that occurs between the enteric and the central nervous...