Zhigang Li, Ph.D., receives a $2 million NIH R01 award to research human microbiome and disease-leading causal pathways in children

NIH has awarded Dr. Zhigang Li a 5-year R01 grant with a total cost of $2.3 million dollars to develop “Mediation Analysis Methods to Model Human Microbiome Mediating Disease-Leading Causal Pathways in Children” (1R01GM123014). In this project, Dr. Li will lead a team consisting of biostatisticians, epidemiologists and a pediatrician at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, as well as a researcher from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Project Summary: The purpose of this project is to develop and apply mediation modeling approaches to investigate the microbiome as a complex mediator in disease-leading causal pathways in children’s health. This project will develop and evaluate two mediation analysis methods for two biological processes. The first method models the mediation effects of each individual taxon to identify important microbial taxa, and the second method models mediation effects of the overall perturbation of microbiome composition. The developed models will be implemented in the New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study (led by Dr. Margaret Karagas) and the Cystic Fibrosis Study (led by Dr. Juliette Madan) to advance the understanding of pathogenesis mediated by the microbiome in children and facilitate the translation of microbiome research to medical practice.