The main goal of my research program is to understand how human gut microbiota regulate host aging and physiology. The human gut microbiota, including trillions of micro-organisms, presents incredible genetic and metabolic diversity. While we age, our microbiota diversity decreases, suggesting associations between aging populations and microbiota communities. In mice, fecal transplantation from younger to aged animals can reverse aspects of age-associated decline. While these findings are exciting, how gut bacterial species and their bioactive small molecules impact host physiology such as aging presents a new frontier to be fully explored.
My postdoctoral work on microbiome metabolomics uncovered the fascinating universe of small molecules produced by the human microbiota, where most of them remain uncharacterized. My lab will leverage a combination of metabolomics, microbiology, and genetics to tackle this underexplored area from both the microbial and host’s perspectives. Specifically, my research program seeks to:
- Mechanistically characterize gut bacteria and bioactive small molecules in host aging and physiology.
- Identify gut microbial-dependent, host cellular mechanisms underlying organismal health-span and lifespan.
- Understand how gut microbial cues interact with diverse host cell types via chromatin modifications, in turn, impacting transcriptional profiles and cellular physiology. Through these approaches, we are excited to define novel molecular mechanisms of gut microbe-host interactions, and identify molecular candidates for microbiota-targeted interventions to postpone age-associated decline in the host.
For the latest information on the Han Lab, please visit our website.