The international Human Microbiome Project trumpeted the coming of age of the field of metagenomics, the study of entire communities of microbes and their contributions to health and disease. In parallel, the field of metabolomics emerged as the systematic, nonbiased analysis of all low-molecular-weight small molecules, or metabolites, produced by a system in response to an environmental stimulus. These fields have enabled discoveries pertinent to a number of human conditions — namely, acute gastroenteritis, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, liver disease, undernutrition and obesity — and have begun to shed new light on multiple aspects of the neglected tropical diseases.
Published February 2015 in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
By Geoffrey A. Preidis, Section of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital; and Peter J. Hotez, fellow in disease and poverty, Baker Institute