Published: 06/06/2019

Thousands of research papers are published every year on the human gut microbiome and its relationship to sickness and health. The research is beginning to inform novel interventions for disease treatment and yet, the research is primarily focused on people in the U.S. and Europe.

Without data that’s inclusive of all people, it’s impossible to know if the findings can be generalized to African, Asian and South American populations.

Stanford’s Director of Global Oncology Ami Bhatt and her team have partnered with researchers from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg to add to the data by studying microbiome factors and noncommunicable disease risk in Africa.

“We have known for some time that we need to increase the diversity of representation in genomics research,” she said.

Stanford medical students Ryan Brewster and Edgar ASiimwe, computational biologist Fiona Tamburini, Bhatt and Ovokeraye Oduaran and Scott Hazelhurst from Witwatersrand reviewed the landscape of microbiome scholarship to identify knowledge gaps.

Today, the interdisciplinary and international team published that review and proposed recommendations for future research in the journal Trends in Microbiology.