La Follette School Professor Pam Herd is a co-principal investigator on a project selected for a UW2020: WARF Discovery Initiative award. Professor Cameron Currie of the Department of Bacteriology is the principal investigator for project, The Human Microbiome in Health and Disease.
The project launches two areas of research in microbiome science — using the human microbiome as a source of new drug leads and identifying metabolites that serve as biomarkers for early life diseases (asthma and autism) and aging diseases (such as Alzheimer’s disease).
The project leverages two UW-Madison population health cohort studies: the Children’s Respiratory Research and Environment Workgroup (CREW) and the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS). Herd is the principal investigator for WLS, one of the longest-running investigations of human health. The CREW study is tracking the early health and development of about 7,000 children.
In addition to these community samples, the microbiome will be studied in autism and neurodegenerative diseases through collaborators at the Waisman Center and the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
This project is one of 21 funded projects, which include 137 faculty members from 10 schools and colleges. Projects receive funding for two years.