Ami S. Bhatt MD PhD, Stanford – “From precision microbiome genomics to precision medicine”
March 23 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
More than 1,000 species of bacteria, archaea, viruses and fungi live in the human gut. Far from being passive passengers, these organisms strongly interact with one another and with their host’s metabolism and immune system. Compelling early experiments have demonstrated associations between the intestinal microbiome composition and obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancer chemotherapies’ efficacy. Yet teasing apart the mechanisms by which microbes impact host health has been challenging. To accelerate an otherwise challenging, slow and tedious process and to deconstruct mechanisms, we must critically examine our existing “tool kit” for studying the microbiome, and mature our measurement tools to meet these challenges. Our translational laboratory builds and designs observational and interventional clinical cohorts to study. We have also steadfastly worked to develop genomic tools to study strain level dynamics of the microbiome, how microbial genomes change over time and how microbes use hidden “microproteins” to communicate with each other and their human hosts. In this presentation, I will speak about three recent developments in our lab: (1) I will introduce the importance of absolute quantification in microbiome research, and our efforts toward that. This will form the basis of revised estimates of the number of microbial cells in a human body. (2) I will give an overview of a new computational workflow called “Phanta”, which enables simultaneous taxonomic profiling of eukaryotes, bacteria and viruses in a human gut metagenomic sample. (3) I will share exciting new unpublished work on our discovery of intragenic inversion as a previously unappreciated mechanism of generating genetic diversity in microbial genes.
Dr. Bhatt is an Associate Professor of Medicine & Genetics at Stanford University. She received her MD and PhD (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology) at UCSF. There she received the Fineberg Award for Excellence in Teaching and was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha. She completed residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and was a fellow in Hematology/Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Thereafter, she carried out her post-doctoral studies at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.
The Bhatt Lab seeks to improve outcomes in patients with hematological malignancies by exhaustively characterizing the dynamics of the microbiome in immunocompromised individuals, and exploring how changes in the microbiome are associated with idiopathic diseases in this population. She loves working with trainees and is excited about the application of new molecular and computational technologies to solve complicated metagenomic puzzles. Learning how to organize piles of shotgun metagenomic sequencing data into orderly lists of genomes and genes of potential clinical/biological importance is her passion.
Note this is a hybrid event in person at Wolf Conference Center 3rd floor of Hale BTM 60 Fenwood Road and on Zoom: https://partners.zoom.us/j/86716089268