About Us


Dr. Young and Dr. Mobley

The mission of the University of Michigan Host Microbiome Initiative (HMI) is to foster research on the role of microbes in human health and disease. This initiative will build upon long-standing strengths in microbiology, microbial pathogenesis, immunology and clinical medicine. The HMI will leverage recent developments in technology and national initiatives such as the NIH Human Microbiome Project to accelerate our understanding of how communities of microbes interact with their host.


The University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) Strategic Research Initiative is backed by a long-term commitment of over $100 million by Medical School Dean James Woolliscroft. This initiative was designed to leverage existing areas of research strength to advance the research mission of UMHS by fostering innovative, ground-breaking science. In 2012, a program known as FastForward was initiated as part of the Strategic Research Initiative. As a result of an extensive vetting process, the Host Microbiome Initiative was selected to proceed with its plans to build research infrastructure for microbiome research at the University of Michigan. This initiative is led by Harry Mobley, chairman of the Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Thomas Schmidt, director of the Center for Microbial Systems, and Vincent Young from the Department of Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases Division. The Host Microbiome Initiative proposes to build upon the existing strengths of the University in the areas of microbial pathogenesis and microbiome research. Through expansion of existing infrastructure and the development of novel enabling technologies — including germ-free animal technology, advanced microbial cultivation, microbial-focused high-throughput molecular analysis and microbial bioinformatics/genomics — the HMI will increase our understanding of the role played by microbes in human health and disease.

External Advisory Board

Martin Blaser, M.D. Muriel G. and George W. Singer Professor of Translational Medicine Director Human Microbiome Program NYU Langone Medical Center Claire Fraser, Ph.D. Professor Director, Institute for Genome Sciences University of Maryland School of Medicine Elodie Ghedin, Ph.D. Associate Professor Computational & Systems Biology University of Pittsburgh Margaret McFall-Ngai, Ph.D. Professor Microbiology & Immunology University of Wisconsin-Madison Jacques Ravel, Ph.D. Associate Professor Microbiobiology & Immunology University of Maryland School of Medicine James Versalovic, M.D./Ph.D. Professor Department of Molecular and Human Genetics Baylor College of Medicine Gary Wu, M.D. Professor Department of Internal Medicine/Gastroenterology University of Pennsylvania

Local Executive Committee

Kathryn Eaton Microbiology & Immunology Victor DiRita Microbiology & ImmunologyJohn Lipuma Pediatrics Juanita Merchant Internal Medicine Harry Mobley Microbiology & Immunology Gabriel Nunez Pathology Mary O'Riordan Microbiology & Immunology Patrick Schloss Microbiology & Immunology Thomas Schmidt Internal Medicine Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Daniel Teitelbaum Surgery Vincent Young Internal Medicine