Advancing national health

Through its research and educational outreach, the UB Microbiome Center is part of the National Microbiome Initiative which is advancing microbiome science in ways that will benefit individuals, communities and the planet.

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National Microbiome Initiative (NMI)

Created through a White House office, the National Microbiome Initiative is enlisting the aid of researchers and institutions to advance the science and bring greater understanding of useful applications in areas such as health care, food production and environmental restoration.

Microbiomes are the communities of microorganisms that live on or in people, plants, soil, oceans, lakes, rocks and the atmosphere. Recent discoveries have generated a new view of the biological world that these microbial species exist everywhere and can help define the health and integrity of their living or inanimate hosts.

Imbalanced microbiomes have been associated with human chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and asthma; local ecological disruptions such as the "dead zone" n the Gulf of Mexico; reductions in agricultural productivity; and disruptions in weather and atmospheric conditions related to climate change.

Goals for the National Microbiome Initiative

  1. Supporting interdisciplinary research to answer fundamental questions about microbiomes in diverse ecosystems.
  2. Developing platform technologies that will generate insights and help share knowledge of microbiomes in diverse ecosystems and enhance access to microbiome data.
  3. Expanding the microbiome workforce through citizen science and educational opportunities.

Investments in microbiome research

The NMI builds on a strong base of public and private support. Between fiscal year 2012 and 2014, more than a dozen federal departments and agencies invested a total of $922 million into microbiome science. Educational institutions have responded to the need. UB, along with several other universities, have created centers and launched programs to accelerate the study6 of microbiomes. Private-sector involvement has followed.

The federal government continues to invest with a combined agency investment of more than $121 million in fiscal year 2016/17 — funding for cross-ecosystem studies.