Members of the human microbiome are in constant communication with each other and with their host, i.e. us. This communication fundamentally shapes human biology in both health and disease, but we know little about the underlying molecular language: Which molecules are involved? How are they detected? And how does detection translate to changes in physiology?
The main goal of the Jost lab is to create a comprehensive understanding of host-microbiome communication, from its chemical underpinnings to its physiological consequences. To do so, we combine systematic CRISPR technologies, physiological cell models, and an interdisciplinary set of targeted approaches, drawing from the areas of microbiology, immunology, biochemistry, and chemical biology.
We focus our efforts on several broad and overlapping areas:
Identifying receptors for microbiome-derived small molecules that modulate human or bacterial physiology, with the goal of creating mechanistic links for both basic discovery and drug development;
Defining mechanisms by which immune cells initiate specific responses to different commensal microbes, with the goal of learning how the microbiome drives immune education and how microbiome imbalances predispose to autoimmune conditions and inflammatory disorders;
Dissecting the communication between commensal microbes and the enteroendocrine system, with the goal of understanding how gut-confined microbes influence systemic aspects of human physiology such as behavior.
More details forthcoming!