Kevin Foust, assistant professor in the department of neuroscience at Ohio State University in Columbus, was awarded an MDA research grant totaling $293,378 over three years to investigate disruption of gut bacteria in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The gut microbiome is the collection of organisms that inhabit a healthy gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Dysbiosis, or changes in the gut microbiome, disrupts GI motility, nutrient uptake and lipid metabolism, creating a spiral that impacts patient health. Foust will examine the microbiome in mouse models of SMA and determine the effects of antibiotics, probiotics and fecal transplants on the SMA mouse microbiome. This study may help guide patients in the use of probiotics or other measures in order to maintain normal gastrointestinal function and nutritional health.
Funding for this MDA research grant began Aug. 1, 2015.