Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, has been awarded the 8th Danone International Prize for Nutrition in recognition of his outstanding contributions to scientific research on the human gut microbiome, diet and nutritional status.
Gordon is Director of the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology at the School of Medicine.
The human gut is home to an estimated 100 trillion friendly microbes that help break down food our bodies otherwise couldn’t digest. This intimate relationship between humans and their microbes is generally a healthy one, but changes to the mix of microbes in the digestive tract are suspected to play a role in obesity, malnutrition, Crohn’s disease and other ailments.
Gordon’s pioneering work in a new area of research called metagenomics is providing new views of the complex interrelationships between various diets, the structure and functions of gut microbial communities, the nutritional value of the food and people’s overall nutritional status. This new approach has implications for understanding obesity and malnutrition.
The international prize is awarded every two years by the Danone Institute International, a non-profit that supports research to promote human health by developing and spreading knowledge about nutrition, diet and health.