Monday, February 26, 2024

Informatics PhD student Rachel Fitzjerrells was recently awarded first place at the 71st Iowa Section of the American Association for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) and Iowa Institute for Oral Health Research for her presentation entitled “Machine Learning Approach Identifies Dysbiotic Oral Communities in Multiple Sclerosis.”

“Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the CNS, affects roughly 2.3 million people worldwide, with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) making up the majority of MS cases. Although the precise pathobiology of RRMS is unknown, the gut microbiome has emerged as a potential environmental factor. However, the importance of the oral microbiome (the next most diverse microbiome) as a potential environmental factor in RRMS is unknown. Prior studies revealed oral microbial dysbiosis in non-oral diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Atherosclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

This is the first oral microbiome study on a large cohort of RRMS patients using shotgun metagenomics that utilizes compositional and machine learning approaches to identify specific bacteria and dysbiotic communities linked to RRMS. Our study brings us closer to harnessing the potential of microbial-based therapies for treating RRMS.”

For more on Rachel and her research, one may read "UI Grad Informatics student awarded competitive NIH grant" published in Oct '23.

First slide of "Machine Learning Approach Identifies Dysbiotic Oral Communities in Multiple Sclerosis" presentation