Addiction: The microbiome link

“Abuse of cocaine is a serious problem in America,” says Weinstock. “Cocaine is involved in more than a third of emergency-room visits for drug misuse or abuse. And because it shares characteristics with many other addictive substances, our findings could apply to opioid and other addictions.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has made a $4M grant to JAX scientists to explore the roles of the microbiome and genetics in substance use disorders.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has funded a bold new approach to understanding the biology of substance abuse, with a five-year grant totaling $3,967,656 to Jackson Laboratory (JAX) researchers exploring the role of the microbiome and genetics in substance use disorders.

“This study will be the first to delineate the genetic basis of drug addiction by integrating host genetics and the gut microbiome.”


The Jackson Laboratory
MetroHartford Alliance


How the Microbiome Supports Health

“Inside our bodies, there is a microscopic world teeming with life known as the microbiome. From the moment we are born, we begin accumulating a collection of helpful bacteria, viruses and fungi that support our immune system and digestive health.

Nichole Broderick, an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Connecticut has received a five-year, $1.92 million grant from the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences to build up the knowledge base of how exactly the microbiome performs these functions.”

Good Bacteria, Bad Bacteria: Uncovering How the Microbiome Supports Health


Azitra has been awarded a SBIR Grant to support development of a microbiome therapeutic for Netherton Syndrome, an orphan skin disease

…NS is extremely rare, it is a severe and unmet need…

“I’m thrilled to receive this funding and am honored to be joined by Dr. Julia Oh at JAX for this research,” said Travis Whitfill, MPH, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Azitra. “Although NS is extremely rare, it is a severe, unmet need and patients are desperate for new treatment options. We hope to bring forward a novel, microbe-based therapy, AZT-02, to deliver missing proteins as a viable therapeutic strategy. This project demonstrates the versatility and importance of our microbe-based platform to deliver proteins to the skin.”

Azitra’s Chief Scientific Officer, Travis Whitfill and The Jackson Laboratory’s (JAX) skin microbiome expert, Julia Oh, are the principal investigators on this SBIR grant.



Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash




Intermittent Fasting Confers Protection in CNS Autoimmunity by Altering the Gut Microbiota


  • Intermittent Fasting (IF) ameliorates the clinical course and pathology of the MS mouse model (EAE)
  • IF increases gut microbial diversity, alters their composition and metabolic pathways
  • Gut microbiota transfer from mice on IF led to protection from EAE in recipient mice
  • Findings with IER in MS patients partially recapitulates what is observed with IF in EAE

A new paper in the journal Cell Metabolism shows that intermittent fasting (IF) can improve symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and that the effects are likely due to changes in the gut microbiota.  George Weinstock and Yanjiao Zhou of The Jackson Laboratory were among the microbiome experts involved in the research.

News Reports

Can fasting improve MS symptoms?  Medical Express

Intermittent fasting may benefit people with MS  Medical News Today