Self-Experimenting Scientist Receives uBiome Grant to Investigate Consequences of Long-Term Antibiotic Use for Skin Conditions
uBiome, the leader in microbial genomics, has awarded a scientific grant to Dr. Eon Rios of Stanford University School of Medicine, supporting an investigation into how long-term use of oral antibiotics for skin conditions affects the gut microbiome.
San Francisco, CA, January 11, 2017
Microbial genomics leader uBiome, is awarding an ongoing series of in-kind scientific grants to ground-breaking microbiome studies. Its most recent microbiome impact grant award has been made to Dr. Eon Rios of Stanford University School of Medicine, who will study the effect of long-term use of oral antibiotics, prescribed for skin conditions, on the gut microbiome.
Approximately 65 million Americans – around one-in-five – suffer from skin conditions such as acne and rosacea, and the first-line treatment for many of these patients with severe disease is the prescription of long-term oral antibiotics. Dr. Rios will explore the effects that these have on the gut microbiome.
His study will analyze patients’ microbiomes before, during, and after exposure to antibiotics. Among other goals, Dr. Rios hopes that his research will reveal whether the long-term use of oral antibiotics for skin conditions might influence the risk of developing other diseases later in life. Dr. Rios hypothesizes that chronic oral antibiotic use will induce permanent shifts in the gut microbiome in some patients, even after the medications have been discontinued.
Dr. Rios is a Physician-Scientist at Stanford University School of Medicine and also works as a dermatologist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. He was awarded his MD and PhD in the study of Immunology by Stanford University School of Medicine, and he received his BS in Neurobiology and Behavior from the University of California, Davis. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and received a Physician Scientist Career Development Award from the Dermatology Foundation in 2014.
What is the Microbiome?
The microbiome is the collective term for the ecosystem of trillions of microorganisms that live in and on the human body. Many of these microorganisms play crucial roles in supporting life. For example, gut bacteria aid digestion and enable the synthesis of vitamins. Pathogenic bacteria, however, can be associated with a range of conditions. In the case of the oral microbiome, these can include upper oral and esophageal cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
uBiome employs next generation high-throughput DNA sequencing technology to generate detailed analyses of the human microbiome. The company is perhaps best known for its work on the gut microbiome, but uBiome also provides microbiome testing for four other sites on the human body: mouth, nose, genitals, and skin. The company has recently launched SmartGut™, the world’s first sequencing-based clinical microbiome test – a doctor-ordered, insurance-reimbursable test processed in its CAP-accredited lab – that is indicated for patients with chronic bowel issues.
Award winner Dr. Eon Rios, Physician-Scientist at Stanford University School of Medicine, says: “While it’s true that antibiotics can make a profound contribution to patient outcomes, it’s also clear that their overuse is having a significant negative impact. We also don’t really understand why taking an oral antibiotic can improve skin conditions such as acne and rosacea.
Are changes in the microbiome a potential mechanism? In addition, we need to better understand the implications of having individuals take oral antibiotics for skin conditions over months and some time years. Are we fixing one problem only to cause other serious health consequences further down the line? uBiome has tremendous capacity to process the many samples that will be collected for this longitudinal study. I’m grateful for their support.”
Dr. Zachary Apte, co-founder and CTO of uBiome adds: “Dr. Rios is investigating the exciting hypothesis that there is a connection between the gut microbiome and skin conditions. Currently, disorders such as acne and rosacea can be treated with oral antibiotics, understanding why this improves skin conditions could eventually lead to new treatment modalities. We are excited to support the research of Dr. Rios through this grant.”
Founded in 2012, uBiome is the world’s leading microbial genomics company. uBiome is funded by Y Combinator, Andreessen Horowitz, 8VC, and other leading investors.
uBiome’s mission is to explore important research questions about the microbiome and to develop accurate and reliable clinical tests based on the microbiome.