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Stanislav Dusko Ehrlich Microbiologist

Stanislav Dusko Ehrlich’s primary research interest is the human microbiome’s role in human biology and its impact on human health and well-being. His main focus is the gut microbiome, the most abundant and complex. Estimated to contain 10 times more cells than the rest of the human body, composed of hundreds of microbial species and weighing up to 2 kg, it can be viewed as a neglected organ. The organ has a high metabolic activity, helps digest food, protects against diseases and synthesizes compounds the body can’t, such as essential amino acids, vitamins and short chain fatty acids. Its neglect is a simple consequence of the lack of ways to characterize it.

Ehrlich’s team has developed an approach known as quantitative metagenomics, which is based on high throughput sequencing of total DNA extracted from stools and powerful bioinformatics. It describes the composition of the neglected organ in high detail, and has shown that it comes in three main types, known as enterotypes; that one out of four people has lost a significant proportion of its richness (40% of its species) and has an increased risk of developing chronic metabolic syndromes (diabetes, liver and heart complications); and that the richness can be restored, at least in part, by nutritional interventions. This opens avenues to refocus medicine from a curative to preventive role, with means of accurately diagnosing individuals at risk and acting to alleviate their risk, save societal resources, and reduce human suffering.

Awards

Grand Prix Scientifique del Duca de l'Institut de France, 2014.

Member of the American Academy of Microbiology, 2013.

INRA Career Excellence of the Agricultural Research Award, 2008.

Member of the French Academy of Agriculture, 2007.

Member of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 1997.

Relevant Publications

N. Qin et al, "Human gut microbiome alterations in liver cirrhosis," Nature, vol. 513, no. 7516, pp. 59-64, Sept. 2014.

E. Le Chatellier et al, "Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers," Nature, vol. 500, no. 7464, pp. 174-180, Aug. 2013.

J. Qin et al, "A human gut microbial gene catalogue established by metagenomic sequencing," Nature, vol. 464, no. 7285, pp. 59-65, March 2010.

M. Arumugam et al, "Enterotypes of the human gut microbiome," Nature, vol. 473, no. 7346, pp. 174-180, May 2011.

A. Cotillard et al, "Dietary interventions impact on gut microbial gene richness," Nature, vol. 500, no. 7464, pp. 585-588, Aug. 2013.

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Appointment

Advisor Humans & the Microbiome

Institution

INRA; King's College LondonMetagenopolis (INRA); Department of Mucosal & Salivary Biology (KCL)

Education

PhD (Biochemistry) University Paris VII

BSc (Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry) University of Zagreb

Country

United Kingdom

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