Washington, DC, USA
December 17, 2018

IAFNS previously took on the task of defining a “healthy gut microbiome,” and the outcome of this effort was published by Backhed et al. in 2012. Since that time, the body of work on gut microbiome has grown exponentially. Six years later, in 2018, the committee decided to evaluate progress toward this definition. On December 17, 2018, many of the same experts gathered to explore the question: Can a Healthy Gut Microbiome be Defined Through Quantifiable Characteristics?

View videos from this workshop.

View the proceedings from this workshop, published in The Journal of Nutrition.

The objectives of this event were to:

  1. Develop a collective expert assessment of the state of the evidence for establishing a set of measurable characteristics of the gut microbiome as indicative of “health”
  2. Develop a research roadmap toward filling the gaps to identify a “healthy” gut microbiome
  3. Generate a manuscript for submission to a peer-reviewed journal

Chair: Cindy Davis, National Institutes of Health
Co-Chair, Facilitator and Scientific Writer: Michael McBurney, IAFNS

History and Importance of Defining a Healthy Microbiome: An Academic Perspective
Claire Fraser, PhD, University of Maryland

History and Importance of Defining a Healthy Microbiome: A Government Perspective
Barbara Schneeman, PhD, University of California, Davis

Technical Challenges in Defining a Healthy Human Gut Microbiome
Curtis Huttenhower, PhD, Harvard University

Biological Challenges in Defining a Healthy Human Gut Microbiome
Curtis Huttenhower, PhD, Harvard University

What is the Evidence that Dietary Components can Act on the Microbiome and Influence Health?
Kristin Verbeke, PhD, KU Leuven

Is there Evidence that Changes in the Characteristics of the Microbiota have a Physiologic Effect/Functional Outcome?
Jens Walter, PhD, University of Alberta

This workshop was supported by the IAFNS Gut Microbiome Committee.