The microbiome is a term used to describe all of the microbes, like bacteria, parasites, and viruses, that live in and on the human body. Our study focuses on the gut microbiome, which is the community of microbes that live in the gastrointestinal tract.
Immigrant Microbiome Project
healthy guts, healthy world
Exploring how westernization affects the gut microbiome and health
The microbiome is defined as the community of all microbes (bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi) that live in and on the human body. Our study focuses on the gut microbiome, which are the microbes resident in the human gastrointestinal tract.
The gut microbiome is essential for:
immune system development
metabolism (e.g. break down of dietary fibers)
protection against pathogens
and many other functions
Your microbiome develops from the day you are born and reaches maturity around age
3 to 4.
Host genetics and external factors (diet, antibiotics, the environment, etc.) drives changes in your gut microbiome.
As a result, people from very different parts of the world have very different gut microbiomes.
Our Research Study
We are interested in determining how the gut microbiome changes with migration between drastically different environments, and how these changes may contribute to changes in health. In our study, we will answer the following questions:
How quickly does the microbiome adapt after migration?
Can we find microbes that correlate with obesity?
Are these microbiome changes preserved over generations?
Does dietary fiber preserve the native gut microbiome?
By studying the following four groups:
Long-term resident foreign-born
migrated > 2 yrs old migrated < 2 yrs old
American-born (2nd generation)
Pre-immigration gut microbiomes
Western gut microbiomes
This research is funded by grants from the UMN Clinical and Translational Science Institute, UMN Institute on Diversity, Equity and Advocacy, UMN Healthy Foods Healthy Lives Institute, and the UMN Graduate School.
The IMP logo was designed by Annie Au.
Icons used throughout this website have been designed by Freepik.
Join our study!
We would like to invite you to participate in a research study that determines the microbiome of Hmong and Karen women and its relationship to obesity risk. To participate, we will ask you to donate a single stool sample (1 gram), get your weight, height, and waist measured, and participate in a 15-minute in-person interview. In compensation for your time and efforts, you will receive a $25 pre-paid credit card.
Any Hmong or Karen woman who has arrived in the last two months can enroll in a 6-month study where they will donate 6 stool samples (1 per month) and take a 15-minute survey 6 times (1 per month). In compensation for their time and efforts, they will receive up to $200 in pre-paid credit cards.
To participate, please contact: