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New Faculty Recruit to the Jill Roberts Institute Will Explore How the Human Microbiota Regulates Health and Disease

Dr. Chun-Jun Guo

Dr. Chun-Jun Guo is a newly appointed faculty member to the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Weill Department of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. His lab is located on the 7th floor of Belfer Research Building and his research program focuses on studying the molecular mechanisms behind host-microbe interaction in the context of health and disease.

Before joining JRI-WCM, Dr. Guo was a postdoctoral scholar at Professor Michael Fischbach’s lab at Stanford working on the small molecules from the bacteria living in the human intestine, commonly known as ‘the human gut microbiota’. These molecules are highly abundant, circulatory, and few of them are well-known ligands for host receptors. However, the biology of the majority of them still remains elusive. Dr. Guo developed the first CRISPR-Cas9-based system in a gut commensal Clostridium sporogenes that is previously challenging to be genetically modified. By mutating the biosynthetic genes for a metabolite and using mouse models, Dr. Guo is able to toggle on/off the production of these abundant microbiome-derived small molecules in the host and use this tool to investigate their effects on host biology and IBD progression.

Dr. Guo’s lab will use a combination of bioinformatics, bacterial genetics, metabolomics, and mouse models to identify the molecular mechanisms behind host-microbiome interaction. More specifically, his lab studies the metabolism of the human gut microbiome. He will use bacterial genetics to manipulate the gut bacterial metabolism and use pre-clinical mouse models to study how the metabolism of our gut bacteria affects host metabolism, host intestinal immunity, and IBD development.

“I am very excited about joining the Roberts Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine”, he says, “I am really impressed by the pioneering work already being done here at the JRI focusing on mucosal immunology and more broadly, host immunity, IBD, infectious diseases, and cancer.

Professor David Artis, the Kors Professor of Immunology and Director of the JRI, commented, “The microbiome is known to be a critical influence in regulating human health and disease. The research of Dr. Guo that focuses on microbiota-derived metabolites and genetics will be complementary and synergistic to the basic and translational research efforts here at the Roberts Institute and our broader community within WCM, NYP and the Tri-Institutional community.”

Dr. Guo added, “I believe the unique collaborative and collegial environment at WCM and the Tri-I makes it a perfect place for my research program to thrive.”