Aaron Wright, a chemical biologist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), is an invited speaker at the first microbiome workshop sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
The two-day virtual workshop, titled “Impact of Environmental Exposures on the Microbiome and Human Health,” explores aspects of toxicology, impacts of specific exposures, microbial metabolism, and experimental models and methods.
On February 24, Wright talks about using molecular probes to profile the composition and functions of the human gut microbiome. Typically, microbiome research focuses on identifying members of a community. With activity-based molecular probes designed at PNNL, Wright and his colleagues can track active microbial functions involved in functions such as metabolizing antibiotics or a toxic chemical. In previous work, the team showed that a human gut microbiome, when treated with an antibiotic, changes composition but not overall function.
Wright also holds a joint appointment in the Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at Washington State University.