Our studies focus on bacteria of the human microbiome including Campylobacter and Helicobacter species that live in the mucus layer overlying the mucosal epithelium of mammals, including humans. Specifically, we explore the biology of colonization and the nature of the interactions that lead to (or protect from) disease. For the normal microbiome, we study how early life perturbations affect host developmental phenotypes. Our on-going work focuses on the metabolic syndrome, and specifically on obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as inflammatory disorders such as type 1 diabetes, asthma, psoriasis, and skin infections. [more]
Dr. Blaser has written a book, Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues, about the degradation of our internal microbial ecosystem as a result of modern medical practices. It was published by Henry Holt and Co., April, 2014.
Cho et al. "Early-life antibiotics alter the murine colonic microbiome and adiposity" - Online Materials
New York Times In Some Cases, Even Bad Bacteria May Be Good
(A version of this article appeared in print on November 1, 2011, on page D5 of the New York edition.)
Nature Magazine Comment Antibiotic overuse: Stop the killing of beneficial bacteria
(Nature Volume: 476, Pages: 393–394, Date Published: (25 August 2011) DOI: doi:10.1038/476393a Published online 24 August 2011)
Streaming media from Dr. Blaser's lab:
The Secret Science Club 2/12/13 Brooklyn, NY:
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Secret Science Club 2/12/13 Q&A Session:
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- Listen now: Possible long-term consequences of overuse of antibiotics from Nature Magazine podcast, August 25, 2011. Download podcast MP3 (Interview with Dr. Blaser begins at 15 minutes and 45 seconds.)
- Losses in Ancestral Microbes Pose Health Risks to Humans from Microbe magazine, March 2010, including
Audio interview with Martin Blaser(in MP3 format)
- View Dr. Blaser's presentation, "The Human Microbiome and Oncogenesis," delivered at the Arizona Cancer Center, February 2009:
View Dr. Blaser's presentation, "The Human Microbiome and Oncogenesis," delivered at the Arizona Cancer Center, February 2009
- Listen to a podcast interview with Dr. Blaser H. pylori — Friend or Foe (broadcast Saturday, September 20th, 2008 on CBC Radio, Quirks & Quarks hosted by Bob McDonald.) On PCs, right click to download mp3 of interview
- Listen to or download a podcast interview with Dr. Blaser Stomach Bug May Help Battle Asthma (broadcast Friday, July 18th, 2008 on National Public Radio)
- View news video: Dr. Yu Chen and Dr. Martin Blaser discuss how a bacterium may help ward off asthma in kids (broadcast Friday, July 25th, 2008 on WBZ-TV, Boston)
- View an entertaining video clip shot in the Blaser Lab: Life On Our Skin,
produced for NPR's Science Friday by Flora Lichtman (broadcast Oct. 18, 2007—at top of list of "Most Viewed Videos" on Science Friday website.)
Recent articles on H.pylori and the risk of asthma and other diseases:
An important focus of our work is Campylobacter fetus, a pathogen of animals and humans. C. fetus cells are covered with S-layer proteins that allow the organisms to escape complement-mediated lysis, and that undergo antigenic variation. Exploring the molecular basis of variation, we have found that the S-layer proteins are encoded by a family of sapA homologs tightly clustered on the chromosome, and that a high frequency DNA inversion plays a critical role in variation. The inversion shows elements of both site-specific and homologous recombination. This is a highly tractable system to examine DNA recombination mechanisms, as well as for structure-function analysis of protein-carbohydrate (LPS) interactions, and the structural basis of antigenicity.
Finally, we are using PCR with conserved 165 ribosomal RNA specificities to define at a molecular level, the bacteria (and fungi) that are normally present in human host mileaus ... [more]
Dr. Martin J. Blaser, Principal Investigator Diseases date back to the dawn of humankind. As humans have evolved, so too have their diseases: some that were once rare have become common, others have disappeared and new varieties have emerged. Many of these changes have taken place in the wake of important transformations in human civilizations and ecology. It is therefore feasible to propose that diseases succeed and fail in response to humanity's advances. ... [more]
Dr. Zhiheng Pei, Principal Investigator The common theme in our work is the effect on disease states by the microbial pressure that arises when a patient's symbiotic bacterial biota is altered. Increasing evidence suggests an important role for chronic inflammation in many disease conditions associated with aging, such as atherosclerosis, cancers, diabetes, and even autoimmune diseases. The body contains about ten times as many commensal bacteria as human cells ... [more]
Dr. Fritz Francois, Principal Investigator Our current work focuses on the role of gut derived obesity peptides such as leptin and ghrelin in gastrointestinal health and disease. The prevalence of obesity continues to rise along with its associated adverse effects on health. Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated a link between obesity and gastroesophageal reflux, Barrett’s esophagus, esophageal adenocarcinoma, as well as colon cancer. Our goal is ... [more]
Dr. Guillermo I. Perez-Perez, Principal InvestigatorMy major interest is in bacterial infections that continue to be a major public health problem around the world. The major areas of research in our laboratory include the microbiology, pathogenesis and epidemiology of bacterial enteric diseases. Our current research focuses on the study of the gram negative bacteria Helicobacter pylori and Campylobacter jejuni. H. pylori is among the most common bacteria that colonize humans ... [more]
Dr. Claudia Plottel, Principal Investigator Estrogen, essential for human health and reproduction, plays a role in malignancies such as Type I endometrial carcinoma, and forms of breast and ovarian cancer. The clinical success of anti-estrogen therapies including tamoxifen and aromatase-inhibitors, speaks to the centrality of estrogens in estrogen receptor-expressing breast cancers. Epidemiologic data has similarly implicated states of estrogen excess, such as obesity, nulliparity, early menarche, and late age at menopause as risks for the development of estrogen-related cancers. ... [more]
Dr. Ilseung Cho, Principal InvestigatorMy current research focuses on the role of the gut microbiome in various disease conditions such as colorectal neoplasia and obesity. The number of bacteria that reside within the human gastrointestinal tract outnumbers the number of human cells by a factor of 10 and the aggregate genetic information contained within those bacteria is several magnitudes greater than that found in the host human genome ... [more]