Immigrating to US Can Change Your Microbiome


Recent research by MSI PI Dan Knights  (associate professor, Computer Science and Engineering; BioTechnology Institute) shows that the gut microbiome of southeast Asian immigrants to the US changes to become more like that of Americans. This change happens quickly, within a year. People in southeast Asia have much more diverse gut microbiomes than people in the US do. A less-diverse microbiome is linked to several health conditions, including obesity.

The study was published on November 1 in Cell magazine and can be found on the journal website: US Immigration Westernizes the Human Gut Microbiome. It has received media attention from several outlets. Professor Knights and the study’s lead author Pajau Vangay also authored an article on website The Conversation: Immigration to US Westernizes Asian Guts.

Professor Knights uses MSI to develop methods that bring precision medicine to the microbiome.