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The Oxford Centre for Microbiome Studies (OCMS) provides unique access to essential technologies to speed up our understanding of how the microbes that inhabit our bodies influence health and disease.

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Imbalances in the complex communities of bacteria that inhabit our bodies have been linked to a range of chronic diseases, but we still don’t know how different types of bacteria interact with body systems. The OCMS opens up the Kennedy Institute’s germ-free facility and other state-of-the-art technologies enabling complete analysis of the microbiome.

Professor Fiona Powrie who leads the Centre, says “Our new germ-free facility provides essential technology to move beyond association studies to identify functional pathways through which microbes communicate with their hosts. This knowledge will help us harness the power of the microbiome to promote health and prevent disease”.

The Centre comprises a team of 16 researchers spanning eight University departments creating a community of interdisciplinary researchers to galvanise and innovate research in this area. Through the provision of resources to the community in both a service and collaborative capacity, the OCMS establishes a hub for microbiome science to generate deeper insights into the role of microbes across diverse environments and disease settings.  

Scientific Project Manager, Dr Paula Colmenero, who provides day-to-day management of the Centre said, “It is exciting to see how the Centre is growing. We have already engaged in a number of studies with scientists from various departments coming to us to establish collaborations or seek help with their microbiome projects. In addition to infrastructure, the Centre also provides expertise, from study design through experimental setup to bioinformatics data analysis. We have also organised a microbiome interest group that will act as a platform for scientists to meet and discuss microbiome research”.

The Centre is supported by the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research and Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support.

 To learn more, please visit the OCMS website or contact ocms@kennedy.ox.ac.uk.