Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced that the winner of the 2018 Agilent Early Career Professor Award is Christoph Thaiss, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology in the Perelman School
of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Thaiss's research focuses on the microbiome and how it mediates the response of its host to environmental cues, which strongly influences the organism's health and disease states. This research is also leading to work on potential translational outcomes, such as innovative therapies for common human diseases.
"We are very happy to support Dr. Thaiss and his transformative microbiome research," said Jack Wenstrand, director of University Relations and External Research at Agilent. "His focus to address fundamental aspects of the interactions of the human microbiome and its host, in the context of response to environmental clues has been extraordinary. The potential of his research is immense."
"It is a tremendous honor for my lab and myself to receive this award," said Dr. Thaiss. "It will allow us to pursue the translational potential of our findings and to explore new areas of host-microbiome interactions that are completely unstudied so far."
Dr. Thaiss has made seminal contributions to the field of host-microbiome interactions. Using multi-omics approaches—from sequencing-based metagenomics to mass spectrometry-based metabolomics analysis, coupled with in vitro and in vivo systems—his team studies the prokaryotic microbiome, its eukaryotic host, and their interplay.
This work has resulted in the discovery that the intestinal microbiome undergoes diurnal rhythms that strongly influence the circadian biology of the host. Dr. Thaiss has also identified memory-like signatures in the microbiome that predispose an obese host to recurrent weight regain. Additionally, his work recently demonstrated that hyperglycemia causes loss of intestinal barrier integrity and microbiota containment, providing a mechanism for the association between obesity and chronic multi-organ inflammation.
Numerous modern human diseases, including obesity and diabetes, neurodegeneration, and cancer, are strongly influenced by environmental factors. Dr. Thaiss's research seeks a deeper understanding of how humans and their microbiota sense these environmental factors and how their integrative activity controls tissue homeostasis and inflammation.