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Microbiome Overview

A central mediator of health

Discoveries made over the past decade—catalyzed by major investments in the Human Microbiome Project, the Metagenomics Project of the Human Intestinal Tract, and other research efforts—have rapidly advanced our understanding of the role that the human microbiome plays in modulating human health.

Once seen only in adversarial terms, today the trillions of bacteria that inhabit or live on our bodies are known to play important, beneficial roles in a wide range of biological processes, including resistance to pathogens, regulation of immune function, and energy metabolism.

What we’ve learned from studying the human microbiome is that there is no one universal “healthy” or “diseased” microbiome. In fact, we know from the Human Microbiome Project that there is great diversity in the microbiomes of healthy individuals. This diversity could prove daunting in terms of identifying targets and developing new medicines to treat disease, but early research published in journals like Nature and Science has shown that within this huge array of unique microbial ecosystems there are key functional properties of microbial ecologies that can define states of health and states of disease.

Facts about the Human Microbiome

From dysbiosis to health

Pathogens, antibiotic use, diet, inflammation, and other forces can cause dysbiosis, a disruption in these microbial ecosystems that can lead to or perpetuate disease. Our drug discovery process interrogates how diverse microorganisms work together to form “functional ecological networks” that perform specific biological functions, and how the diversity of microbes present in the gut can have a significant impact on the healthy function of the human gastrointestinal tract ecosystem. We define how alterations in a state of health impact disease and design Ecobiotic® drugs tailored to help establish healthy microbial communities that can confront a wide range of diseases.

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