The Phageome of Environmental Enteropathy
Lori Holtz of Washington University in the U.S. will analyze the composition of bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria) in the gut of young children to see if it is linked with the chronic inflammatory gut condition, environmental enteropathy, which is highly prevalent in low-income countries and is linked to malnutrition and stunted growth. They will perform metagenomic sequencing on available fecal samples taken over a 6-month period from 489 children under age two from Malawi who were tested for gut dysfunction. They will analyze both RNA and DNA bacteriophage populations as well as the bacterial microbiome and evaluate their association with each other and with the development of environmental enteropathy. Specific bacteriophage associated with the presence or absence of the disease could lead to the development of new treatments.