The Gut Microbiome and You

$1,027
20%
Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
9 Donors
18
days left
Project ends on December 06, at 09:00 AM CST
Project Owners

The Gut Microbiome and You

Who We Are

The Biomimetic Microengineering (BioME) Lab at UT, led by Dr. Hyun Jung Kim, is a biomedical engineering research lab attempting to map out and recreate the microbiome of the human digestive system. We are currently concerned with determining how the foreign bacteria that inhabits our gastrointestinal tract interacts with the native cells that make up our small and large intestines.

The project that we are proposing, using cutting edge gut-on-a-chip technology, will utilize fecal samples from UT students to analyze the bacterial content of their gut microenvironment and monitor the gut’s bodily response to certain food groups. The fecal samples obtained from various donors in our lab will be washed down so that each fecal donors' colon bacteria is isolated. These bacteria will then be co-cultured in a chip with human gut cells that exhibit intestinal barrier functions. We will then test how the gut bacteria use non-digestible dietary fibers, so-called "prebiotics", to produce important compounds such as short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs are used as fuel sources for the gut cells, improve barrier function, and control the immune system. Thus, as a proof-of-concept, we will utilize the gut-on-a-chip to test how an individual student's gut bacteria work to produce different levels of SCFAs. The outcome of this study may be helpful to understand how a fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) can improve someone's gut health. Essentially, our lab gets relevant research on how the materials in our digestive system interact to maintain homeostasis and the donors get valuable insight about their dietary choices and its effects on their specific gut microbiome.

The Impact

This is important because gut bacteria play a significant role in our overall health. Any imbalance in the interactions between human and bacterial cells can lead to complications like bloating/abdominal pain or even inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer. Monitoring the gut’s response to certain food groups, prebiotics, and other chemical compounds offers not only the knowledge of how to avoid imbalances in our gut’s stability, but also provides data useful in curing patients with IBD, colorectal cancer, and other gut related diseases. Along with this insight, this project offers a means of optimizing gut-on-a-chip technology. This technology provides a pivotal step towards moving away from animal models, providing personalized medical therapies for the aforementioned diseases and also has the potential to be a foundational cornerstone in research regarding human fecal microbiome transplant (FMT).

 

Why We Need Your Help

We hope you’ll support our project not only because the feedback that participants get from us will make it easier to avoid everyday feelings of bloating and abdominal pain on an individual basis, but also because you would be funding invaluable research on the third most common cancer in the U.S. (colorectal cancer)! We can’t do this research without your help. Every sample and test requires funding that we don’t have, plus we need to hire research assistants to make all of this happen. Your gift is essential to the success of our project. Thank you for your generosity!

 

Levels
Choose a giving level

$13

Sample Analyzation

Each fecal sample costs $13 to test in a liquid chromatography machine. With $13, we can test a donated fecal sample. All donors to this project will be included in the acknowledgments of the academic article published using the data we obtain from this project.

$26

Bacterial Growth Medium

Both the bacterial and human cells in our gut need nutrients to grow and reproduce. The growth medium that provides these nutrients for growth on our gut chip is called DMEM. 500 milliliters of DMEM costs $26. All donors to this project will be included in the acknowledgments of the academic article published using the data we obtain from this project.

$50

Daily Wage

Our undergraduate research assistants will be making $10/hr as they conduct this experiment. $50 would provide about half a week's worth of pay for one researcher. All donors to this project will be included in the acknowledgments of the academic article published using the data we obtain from this project.

$100

Weekly Wage

Our undergraduate research assistants will be making $10/hr as they conduct this experiment. $100 would provide about a week's worth of pay for one researcher. All donors to this project will be included in the acknowledgments of the academic article published using the data we obtain from this project.

$206

Prebiotics

The prebiotic that we will be using in this experiment to nourish the human gut cells is called Inulin. 25 grams of this prebiotic costs $206. All donors to this project will be included in the acknowledgments of the academic article published using the data we obtain from this project.

$400

Monthly Wage

Our undergraduate research assistants will be making $10/hr as they conduct this experiment. $400 would provide about a month's worth of pay for one researcher. All donors to this project will be included in the acknowledgments of the academic article published using the data we obtain from this project.

$1,200

Liquid Chromatography

Liquid chromatography (LC) is an analytical chemistry technique used to separate solutions that we use to evaluate fecal samples. This technique, though effective, is expensive. $1200 would fund the LC analysis for all of the fecal samples. All donors to this project will be included in the acknowledgments of the academic article published using the data we obtain from this project.

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