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May 20, 2016 10:00 AM EDT

University Of California, San Diego Invests $12 Million In Its Own Microbiome Research Efforts!

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In a bid to promote the integrated study of microbiomes - communities of living microorganisms that exist on and in plants, soil, atmosphere and even people, and foster means to safeguard and conserve healthy microbiome function, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in partnership with Federal agencies and private-sector stakeholders announced a new National Microbiome Initiative (NMI) on May 13.

OSTP in collaboration with federal agency launched the initiative with an investment of more than $121 million. The University of California, San Diego made a crucial contribution in this effort by investing a staggering $12 million in its own microbiome research endeavor, according to a Fact Sheet published on The White House website.

The National Microbiome Initiative gives prominence to UC San Diego's Microbiome and Microbial Sciences Initiative, a combined research and education effort started in October last year by Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla with an objective to influence the university's strong points in the humanities, engineering, medicine and science.

The campus-wide effort includes a research-oriented Center for Microbiome Innovation as well as a student-focused Microbial Sciences Graduate Research Initiative, according to reports on University Of California.

Three UC San Diego leaders in the field of microbiome including the likes of Rob Knight, Ph.D., director of the UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation, and Rob Knight, Ph.D., director of the UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation were requested to attend the May 13 event that took place in Washington, D.C.

Several companies including GE, and Illumina that are committed to modernization in this field have expressed their support to The UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation via letters.

From participation in the White House's National Microbiome Initiative as well as this network, the Center for Microbiome Innovation will definitely benefit in terms of concentrating on the human microbiome as means to better handle diseases including psychiatric illnesses, diabetes, asthma and obesity. This will also allow the Center for Microbiome Innovation to study the microbiome as an origin for new drugs and probable tool as far as precision medicine is concerned.

UC San Diego researchers will join forces to conduct an advance research on environmental microbiomes living on soil, and aquatic to help other scientists use that information to battle global challenges to climate change reduction, biofuel development as well as agricultural sustainability.

According to Chancellor Khosla, the ambitious undertaking calls for new collaborations in several disciplines as accomplishing this undertaking is not an easy task and it cannot be done by individual laboratories working in seclusion. Khosla appreciated the support the White House and OSTP has offered.

Chancellor Khosla also noted that they are expecting the initiative to lead to an array of new scientific insights as well as technological progress and economic opportunities that will eventually turn out to be beneficial to the society, the environment and overall human health for a long time.

The National Microbiome Initiative (NMI) focuses on better understanding of microbiome behavior in order to protect and restore healthy microbiome function. As a result of their year-long process to find more information scientists from academia, Federal agencies and the private sector coincided on three recommended fields of focus for microbiome science, which now are the objective of the NMI:

Promoting interdisciplinary research: To provide answers to crucial questions about microbiomes in varied environments.

Evolving platform technologies: that will spawn understanding and facilitate in sharing knowledge of microbiomes in varied ecosystems and boost access to microbiome data.

Broadening the microbiome workforce: through the means of public engagement, citizen science and educational moments.

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