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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Iowa State University
  • Thomas J Mansell
  • (515) 294-5225
Award Date:01/09/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 568,607
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 450,949
  • FY 2020=$450,949
Start Date:03/01/2020
End Date:02/28/2025
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.041
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:CAREER: Engineering Microbial Communities with Prebiotic/Probiotic Pairs
Federal Award ID Number:1944785
DUNS ID:005309844
Parent DUNS ID:005309844
Program:Cellular & Biochem Engineering
Program Officer:
  • Steven Peretti
  • (703) 292-7029

Awardee Location

Street:1138 Pearson
Awardee Cong. District:04

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Iowa State University
Street:4136 Biorenewables Research Laboratory
Cong. District:04

Abstract at Time of Award

Some bacteria are beneficial to their host. These are referred to as probiotics. Taking a supplement containing these organisms may be a way to treat diseases like obesity, diabetes, or heart disease. The gut already contains a wide variety of microbes, but introducing new ones that remain in place is difficult. This research project aims to implement and evaluate a two-step strategy to create an environment suitable for successfully introducing probiotics. The first step is to modify the probiotics so that they can use nutrients not normally found in the gut. The second step is to introduce the probiotic and the unusual nutrient (referred to as a prebiotic) to the gut. The working hypothesis is that this combination will provide a unique environment in which the target probiotic can thrive. This work will advance knowledge of the role of nutrients in regulating the gut ecosystem, drug delivery by engineered probiotics, and the usage of prebiotics in the human diet. This research project also supports the development of an interactive laboratory in which students will be able to observe competition between engineered gut bacteria. The goal of this research project is to create a niche for engineered probiotic bacteria through the use of unique prebiotics. The first objective is to understand the effect that introducing prebiotics has on microbial communities in vitro and in vivo. The second objective is to create unique prebiotic-probiotic pairs by in vitro protection and in vivo deprotection of engineered prebiotics. Microbial populations in simulated cultures and in mice supplemented with an array of prebiotics will be characterized. Those results will guide the design of prebiotics that can provide maximal advantage to the probiotics. Novel nutrients will be generated by enzymatic and/or chemical modification of existing prebiotics. Probiotic strains will be engineered to express enzymes that undo these protective modifications to enable utilization. The results of this research project could have significant positive impacts on the engineering of beneficial microbiomes in outdoor environments as well as inside humans and animals. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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