The MicroBiome Analysis Center (MBAC) resides within the College of Science at George Mason University and supports collaborative research in the fields of Molecular Ecology, Microbial Ecology, Molecular Evolution, and Genomics. The MBAC will build upon the Molecular Ecology Resource that has existed within COS for the past 10 years. The resource has established the technology for characterizing microbial communities and the bioinformatics support for analyzing the large non-parametric data sets. The MBAC supports the research programs of the faculty and students in the Department of Biology, the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, the Department of Computer Science, and the School of Systems Biology.
One of the major focuses of the MBAC will be research into dysbiosis of the microbial communities (microbiomes) that resides in the human gut, mouth, urogenital, and respiratory tracts and model the homeostatic interactions between microbiome function and human derived gene expression. We define these functions and interactions as the Metabiome and this represents an example where biological data and computational tools are brought together in the multidisciplinary field called Systems Biology.
MBAC technological capabilities have supported rewarding collaborations.
- Based on the working principle that life originated in pre-biotic chemistry, MBAC is exploring the prebiotic chemistry that could lead to the emergence of existing biogeochemical pathways and cellular life on earth.
- Analyzing the Metabiome (the interactions of the Microbiome, Metabolome, and Immunome) with tools that calculate Correlation Networks for complex data matrices and calculate the statistically significant differences of two Correlation
- Networks visualizing the network highlights and potential interactions between the microbiome, metabolome, and immunome.
- Systems Biology analysis with Universities from North America and Canada to investigate Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
- Systems Biology analysis with Universities from North America, Turkey, China, India, and Europe to investigate Hepatic Encephalopathy and Cirrhosis.
- Commercializing Microbiome Diagnostics for precision medicine in a joint venture with Metabiomics and Prescient Medicine