The gut microbiome refers to the collection of genomes from all the microorganisms found in the gastrointestinal tract. There are trillions of microbes residing in the human body, exceeding the number of human cells. The gut microbiome is an essential part of the body for its critical role in the physiology of various diseases, including diarrhea, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis, colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even neurodegenerative diseases. Conversely, the gut microbiome has a great potential to become a target for the prevention and treatment of diseases. Many studies in both humans and mice have shown that influencing the gut microbiota, such as with fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), use of pre/probiotics or external chemicals or drugs can have therapeutic and prophylactic effects on obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, and colorectal cancer.
Wang laboratory routinely performs a standardized workflow from fecal DNA extraction, to next-generation sequencing library construction and sequencing. Our research is focusing on animal health and disease, and we are in close collaboration with clinicians, animal hospitals, farms, and other institutions. Currently, we have conducted gut microbiome research using whole-genome metagenomic sequencing in several animal models, including companion animals (cats and dogs), farm animals (poultry, cattle, equids, and pigs), and aquatic animals (catfish), as well as a marsupial biomedical model Monodelphis domestica (gray, short-tailed opossums). Ongoing efforts to further characterize the composition and functions of the gut microbiome and the mechanisms underlying host-microbe interactions will provide a better understanding of the role of the microbiome in health and disease to reduce economic loss and enhance animal welfare.