Dr. Jennifer Martiny is the Director of the UCI Microbiome Initiative and Professor in the School of Biological Sciences.

UCI Microbiome Initiative

Director: Dr. Jennifer Martiny
Initiative Funding Period: July 2017 – June 2018
Website: microbiome.uci.edu

The Problem: The microorganism communities–microbiomes–in our soil, oceans, and bodies have a lot in common. But current microbiome research is not well coordinated among disciplines. The UCI Microbiome Initiative seeks to create cross-discipline collaboration to better understand microorganisms both in our bodies and the environment. 

Microbiomes—complex, diverse communities of microorganisms—are essential to human and environmental health. These communities are everywhere: in our bodies, our soil, and our oceans. And we are only beginning to understand how much they have in common.

UCI is uniquely poised to become a world leader in microbiome research. While human and environmental microbiomes have traditionally been studied separately, UCI researchers have already begun to bridge the gap, opening up new possibilities for improving our health and the planet’s.

The UCI Microbiome Initiative will:

  • Build collaborations across disciplines, identifying universal similarities between human and environmental microbe communities
  • Train a new generation of microbiome scientists who can move fluidly between disciplines
  • Foster community outreach
  • Provide training and staff to help researchers adapt to new research technology
  • Build an international reputation for cross-system microbiome science at UCI
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Under the Microscope

The UCI Academic Initiative program seeks to unravel some of the world’s most challenging problems through cross-discipline collaboration.

Below are some of the opportunities and challenges for the UCI Microbiome Initiative.

  • Researchers can study the microbiomes of healthy and premature babies to work toward providing every baby a healthy microbiome at the start of life.
  • Environmental scientists can learn more about healthy soils and oceans to better predict how ecosystems will respond to climate change.
  • Scientists at the UCI MIND Institute can unravel the complex links between digestive health and debilitating neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s.
  • What role do microbiomes play in human and environmental health?
  • Can we promote the development of strong, resilient microbiomes?
  • Can we alter microbiomes to benefit us and the environment?


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