The Michigan State University Enterics Research Investigational Network, Cooperative Research Center (MSU ERIN CRC) is a multidisciplinary, highly integrated Research Center centered on the study of the enteric microbiome in health and disease. The long-term goal is to understand and alleviate one of the most prevalent and important global health problems, diarrheal illnesses. The central overarching theme of the Center is to explore and elucidate the relationship of the enteric microbiome to acute diarrheal illness. We are focused on the inter-relationships among factors mediating diarrheal disease, including 1) enteric bacterial pathogens, 2) the human enteric microbiome, and 3) host responses controlling susceptibility, resistance, and autoimmunity.
The MSU ERIN CRC is a synergistic scientific group that merges expertise of many disciplines including microbial ecology, bacterial genetics, physiology, foodborne disease pathogenesis, evolutionary biology, epidemiology and murine modeling with that of practicing physicians working in pediatric infectious diseases, gastrointestinal surgery and neonatology. The goal to create a scientific environment that can examine diarrheal disease from both basic and clinical perspectives.
Each discipline is represented by key members of research centers recognized at the highest levels for excellence: the MSU partners include the Center for Microbial Ecology (CME), the Microbiology Research Unit of the Food and Waterborne Diseases Integrated Research Network (MRU, FWDIRN), the Department of Epidemiology, and the Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, and our external partners are the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan, and the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH).
Thematically, a main focus of the Center is to define mechanistically, quantitatively and computationally the interactions of the microbial community with diarrheal pathogens; this will be accomplished at the levels of community composition, structure and density (metagenomics), the metatranscriptome, and the metabolome to address specific hypotheses regarding enteric disease pathogenesis.
Our special emphasis is selected high priority enteric pathogens for which pathogenesis is only partially known and for which relationships to the microbiome are suspected but not proven. The organisms that will be studied also represent pathogens with different enteric lifestyle strategies (luminal dweller, epithelial colonizer, and invasive) and virulence attributes where many of the pathogenesis mechanisms and evolutionary relationships are unknown. This emphasis includes pathogen models where basic immunological mechanisms controlling susceptibility or resistance are known so that we can examine effects of varying microbial community composition on modulation of host responses.