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The 2016 MedTech Boston 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators


Dirk Gevers, PhD
Global Head of Janssen Human Microbiome Institute
Dirk Gevers, PhDFor over 100 years, the medical community has been focused on suppressing pathogens. Although this work has been important in addressing serious health challenges, researchers have recently begun to reconsider the larger community of microorganisms that live within and around us. “We are now starting to understand that we’ve missed an important aspect—that, in fact, the majority of the trillions of microbes that live in, on, and around us play a beneficial role in keeping us healthy,” says Dr. Dirk Gevers of the Janssen Human Microbiome Institute.

Gevers’ work with the Microbiome began in 2006 when, after completing his PhD in microbiology from Ghent University, he traveled from Belgium to Boston as a visiting post-doc at MIT.

“My initial goal was to visit a leading microbial ecology lab at MIT for 6 months, add a line and a paper to my CV, and return to my career path at the Ghent University in Belgium,” says Gevers of the visit. But two years later, Gevers was still in Boston working as a computational biologist at the Broad Institute researching Streptomyces genomes for novel antibiotics. In the same year that Gevers began his work at the Broad, the NIH funded Human Microbiome Project landed at the institute, and Gevers quickly recognized that this project combined his interest and expertise in microbiology, genomics, computational biology and microbial ecology. “It turned out to be the beginning of a new exciting adventure in the midst of a field that rapidly evolved from an early science into one that is impacting human health,” he says.

Today, Gevers is the head of the Janssen Human Microbiome Institute, which is focused on understanding the role that microbiota play in human health and wellness, and translating this knowledge into novel therapies. According to Gevers, the Microbiome has the potential create drugs that are more natural, over-the-counter solutions and even diagnostic tests.

MedTech Boston Staff

    Abigail Ballou, Alexandra David, Shreya Iyer and Casey Nugent contributed to this story.

    6 Comments

    1. Sraliceop@netscape says:

      Congratulations to Call9! I admire the motivation and purpose behind your work. May it enhance the Gift of Life for many people. And it all started with Al and Estelle! My best wishes and prayers!

      Alice Reichmeider, O.P.

    2. Chandra reddy says:

      Nina
      Way to go
      We are all so proud of you

    3. kusuma rao says:

      Hi Nina my name is KusumaRao classmate of your parents at MMC.i want you to know how proud i am of you not just the intelligence but the compassion for others at such an young age.To tell our own self for nthe good of others in not known in indian community. you made all of us feel good keepup the goodwork and God bless you love Kusuma aunty

    4. Dr. Harneet V Thakur says:

      Hi Anshuman,

      I am very proud of you and lucky to have you as my student. It was known during your M.tech project that you will shine. Many best wishes and congratulations. I wish you grand success in all your endevours.

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