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