The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Biology and Biomedicine goes, in this eleventh edition, to Jeffrey I. Gordon, for his fundamental discovery of the importance of the gut microbial community to human health.
It has been known for a long time that we live with many bacteria in and on our bodies. Gordon and his team were the first to demonstrate the importance of the gut microbiome in regulating animal physiology. Following this fundamental discovery, it has been shown by many groups around the world that the gut microbiome plays a central role in health and disease including obesity, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease, and perhaps will have great implications in the pathogenesis of neurological disorders and response to drug therapy.
Fecal microbiota transplantation can be beneficial for the treatment of some disease conditions, including types of colitis. As the precise molecular mechanisms of the role of bacteria in our physiology are being discovered, this will have great promise for the development of targeted therapeutics for diverse human diseases.