NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Brady To Launch NCCIH Lecture Series on Gut Microbes, Mar. 14

Closeup of Dr. Sean Brady
Dr. Sean Brady

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health will sponsor three lectures this spring on the theme of “Microbes in Our Gut: Emerging Insights on Health and Disease,” as part of its Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series. 

On Thursday, Mar. 14 at 11 a.m. in Lipsett Amphitheater, Bldg. 10, Dr. Sean Brady of The Rockefeller University will inaugurate the series with his presentation “Watch Where You Step, There Is Chemistry Everywhere.” 

Brady notes that the characterization of biologically active small molecules (natural products) produced by easily cultured bacteria has been a rewarding avenue for identifying novel therapeutics. It has also been an excellent way to gain insights into how bacteria interact with the world around them. 

The traditional pure culture-based approach to studying bacterial natural products, however, has provided access only to a small fraction of the diverse metabolites encoded by environmental microbiomes. Studies suggest that in most environments, uncultured bacteria outnumber their cultured counterparts by at least two orders of magnitude. 

There appears to be no easy way to culture this collection of unstudied microorganisms, but the speaker has developed culture-independent methods to circumvent this discovery bottleneck. 

Brady’s methods involve extraction, cloning and heterologous expression of bacterial biosynthetic gene clusters directly from environmental samples. He will discuss applying these methods to identifying new antibiotics from the global soil microbiome and metabolites encoded by the human microbiome.

Brady is Evnin and Tri-Institutional professor and head of the Laboratory of Genetically Encoded Small Molecules at Rockefeller. His research funders include NIGMS, NCCIH and NIAID. 

To find out more about the event and the series (which will also be videocast), visit

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