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GI Research Profile: Eugene B. Chang, Martin Boyer Professor of Medicine

Eugene B. Chang, Martin Boyer Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago, studies the microbial organ (the gut microbiome) of the body, which resides in the GI tract and consists of trillions of cells, more than then the total number of our own cells.

The gut microbiome is essential for good health, immune development, and metabolism, but it also has an important role in the development of many diseases, including inflammatory bowel diseases and metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.  These are the two focus areas of research in Chang’s laboratory.

Through a team approach that involves clinical colleagues and investigators at Argonne National Laboratory and the Marine Microbiological Laboratory at Woods Hole (affiliates of the University of Chicago), Chang and his team apply state of the art technologies (next generation DNA sequencing, metabolomics, computational systems, and innovative animal and tissue experimental models) to gain fundamental insights that may reveal the causes of IBD and of abnormalities in energy balance that are associated with diet-induced obesity.  This knowledge is now being leveraged to develop tests for predicting risk for these diseases and for developing strategies to prevent, treat, and cure these diseases.

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