The Microbiome and Public Health

Rapid increases in diseases influenced by the microbiome — including obesity, inflammatory bowel diseases, infectious disease, and cancer — have contributed to the urgency of research discovery in this area.

Each person hosts a unique, vast microbial ecosystem that adapts over time in response to our environment, diet, and lifestyle. These microbial communities in and on our bodies interact with our own cells and tissues, playing an essential role in human health, growth and development, aging, and disease susceptibility. The burgeoning field of microbiome research provides a new way of framing key scientific questions through which we can better understand the factors that influence health, drive the development and progression of the disease, and shape early detection, prognostic, and treatment strategies.

The mission of the Harvard Chan Microbiome in Public Health Center (HCMPH) is to expand our understanding of the microbiome to improve population health, through basic research, translation, policy, education, and outreach. This includes human microbiome contributions to and interactions with chronic disease, basic and infectious disease microbiology, molecular epidemiology, nutrition, environmental health, computational and quantitative methods, and public health policy and best practices. In our research, we aim to create tools, facilities, and resources to help advance microbiome science worldwide. We welcome academic collaborations, industry partnerships, and feedback on any of our research or public initiatives.