Dr. Noel T. Mueller, an assistant professor in the department of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has been awarded a $782,330 grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to study the role gut microbiota, the microorganisms in the human intestinal tract, may play in the development of cardiometabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. These diseases have reached epidemic rates in the U.S. and globally, and together represent the leading causes of death in the U.S.
[Photo: Dr. Noel Mueller]
Evidence suggests that gut microbiota may contribute to the development of cardiometabolic diseases, but rigorous studies on humans are lacking. One of the primary functions of the gut microbiota is to break down dietary fibers and produce short chain fatty acids, which are thought to serve various metabolic functions in our gut and throughout our bodies.
The researchers will use the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute grant to examine the effects of diet interventions on the gut microbiota and their short chain fatty acid metabolites. Investigators plan to measure microbiota in the participants’ stool and to quantify their metabolites in both the stool and the blood. The researchers hope that the project will elucidate the mechanisms by which these diet interventions might affect cardiometabolic health and help identify key microbes or metabolite patterns that can be targeted for innovative strategies to prevent cardiometabolic disease.
Dr. Mueller is also a core faculty member at the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research, which is based at the Bloomberg School.