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Inside the Lab Technology and innovation, Microbiology and immunology, Digital and computational pathology

Getting Rid of the Guesswork

At a Glance

  • An imbalance of microbiomes can have serious health implications
  • Probiotic therapy has great potentail, but predicting how an individual’s microbiome will react to them is difficult
  • Pathologist Georg Gerber and his team have developed an algorithm-based tool that can forecast microbial reactions to interventions to aid research into therapeutic avenues
  • MDSINE, which is open source, has been validated in mice; Gerber plans to apply it to human data in the near future

An imbalance in the microbiome – the micro-organisms living on and in the body – can have serious health implications. Reintroducing “healthy” bacteria (probiotics) to bring the microbiome back onto an even keel has great potential, but it can be hard to predict how a patient’s individual microbiota will react. Now, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School and the University of Massachusetts have created a new tool to help develop better bacteriotherapies. The Microbial Dynamical Systems INference Engine (MDSINE – pronounced M-Design) is a suite of computer algorithms that can forecast microbial behavior in complex ecosystems like the mammalian gut (1).

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About the Author

William Aryitey

My fascination with science, gaming, and writing led to my studying biology at university, while simultaneously working as an online games journalist. After university, I travelled across Europe, working on a novel and developing a game, before finding my way to Texere. As Associate Editor, I’m evolving my loves of science and writing, while continuing to pursue my passion for gaming and creative writing in a personal capacity.

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