Microbiome Research

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Gabriel Lai, Ph.D.
Program Director, Environmental Epidemiology Branch

Somdat Mahabir, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Program Director, Environmental Epidemiology Branch

Mukesh Verma, Ph.D.
Branch Chief, Methods and Technologies Branch


Microbiomes are the communities of microorganisms that live on or in people, plants, soil, oceans, and the atmosphere. Microbiomes can maintain healthy function of these diverse ecosystems, and influence human health, climate change, food security, and other factors. Dysbiosis and dysfunctional microbiomes are associated with issues including human chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, cancer, and pre-cancerous states.

Analysis of the microbiome and associated metabolites over time can yield information that may serve as a diagnostic of: microbial exposure, cancer risk, incidence, and progression, as well as treatment response. The study of the microbiome in various epidemiologic cohorts may also identify modifiable risk factors and mechanisms of carcinogenesis, which may inform preventative measures and early diagnosis.

Relevant Funding Opportunities

NCI-sponsored Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) for cancer-related microbiome research include:

  • Age-related Microbiota Changes and their implications in Chronic Disease Prevention, Treatment and Progression – expires May 8, 2021
  • Advancing Mechanistic Probiotic/Prebiotic and Human Microbiome Research (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed) - expires September 8, 2021

EGRP also encourages methods development or hypothesis-driven investigator-initiated grant applications on the topic of microbiome research.

EGRP joins with other NCI Divisions, Offices, and Centers and other Institutes and Centers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund grant applications submitted in response to FOAs. View the full list of EGRP FOAs.

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Public Resources

Research Resources

  • The Human Microbiome Project (HMP)
    The NIH HMP is one of several international efforts designed to take advantage of large scale, high through multi ‘omics analyses to study the microbiome in human health. As a community resource program, the HMP is a partner in an international collaboration to generate rich, comprehensive, and publicly available datasets of the microbiome. This information will be available worldwide for use by investigators and others in efforts to understand and improve human health.
  • The Human Microbiome Project Data Analysis and Coordinating Center (HMPDACC) Data PortalExternal Web Site Policy
    The HMP DACC Data Portal provides access to all publicly available HMP data sets, generated from healthy human subjects and demonstration project subjects.
  • The Integrative Human Microbiome Project (iHMP)External Web Site Policy
    The second phase of the HMP with a goal to generate resources to facilitate characterization of the human microbiota to further our understanding of how the microbiome impacts human health and disease.