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About the Lab:

The Dominguez-Bello laboratory is in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Research in the lab focuses on the co-evolution of the microbiota and host, and impacts exerted by Western lifestyle practices. We perform comparative microbial surveys of vertebrate colonized organs, and currently study the human microbiota spanning Westernization. We focus on its development from birth, immune and metabolic functions, impact by modern practices and restoration strategies. We also study the role of the built environment in microbial transmission, integrating the fields of anthropology and architecture into microbial ecology.


Research Projects
  1. Effects of early life stressors on development

Microbes modulate host development, and microbial stressors impair early life transmission and alter developmental programs. We are studying these microbial-host conversations using mouse models and looking at metabolic and brain responses.

  1. Breastfeeding and the infant microbiome

Breastfeeding protects against obesity and alleviates the impact of microbiome stressors on the baby. We are characterizing breastmilk and determining factors that alter the baby microbiome.

  1. The microbiome of remote indigenous peoples

Urbanization decreases microbial diversity and is associated with reduced infectious diseases but increased immune and metabolic diseases. Millions of peoples globally are integrating urban practices in their lives. In a multidisciplinary team of with local scientists in Venezuela, we continue our decades-long  relation with indigenous communities to study of the effect of increasing antimicrobial exposures on the structure and function of human microbiomes.

  1. Vaginal seeding – Randomized Clinical trial

We collaborate with OBGYN and Public Health colleagues in an inter-institutional study on the effect of maternal vaginal microbes given to C-section-born neonates on both their microbiome maturation and health outcomes.

  1. NJ ECHO Study

With a multidisciplinary Rutgers team, we examine the relationship between early microbiome stressors and upper and lower airway health in children, while contributing unique diversity to the larger ECHO cohort.

We embrace equity and diversity in all of our human studies.
The knowledge gained from these studies is important to inform clinical, public health, and policy interventions.