The microbiome is integral to human health and this adds new dimensions to the significance of nutrition. Human gut works as a bioreactor. Members of the gut microbiome use any dietary components not digested or absorbed by us to support their growth. Our diet, therefore, plays an important role in modulating the microbiome composition and functions. When gut bacteria grow, they produce an array of bioactive compounds, potentially beneficial or detrimental, which may get into the systemic circulation to impact human health. On the other hand, the microbiome may modify the metabolism and thus the bioavailability and effects of nutrients to the human host. Understanding such complex interactions between nutrition, microbiome and human health would require not only specialized tools in each of these areas but also a holistic approach that considers the integrated health effects at the human organismal level.
The newly established Center for Nutrition, Microbiome, and Health integrates the prior Center for Digestive Health and Program for Microbiome in Human Nutrition and Health. It presents an exciting opportunity that brings together a diverse range of experts at Rutgers and beyond to facilitate collaborations. The mission for the Center is to aggregate multidisciplinary efforts in basic science and clinical research to understand how nutrition and microbiome work together to impact on human health and diseases, and importantly to translate the findings into applications in both the clinical setting and everyday life.