Precision Probiotic Therapies: Challenges and Opportunities

Date: April 26, 2022 to April 27, 2022

Location: Virtual, Registration is required

Event Description

Probiotic interventions may potentially offer beneficial effects, such as alleviation of gastrointestinal symptoms; “strengthening” of the immune system; protection against infectious diseases; prevention of metabolic disorders; improved mental health; promotion of early development; and general well-being. However, one major challenge in assessing the effects of probiotic interventions has been the inconsistent results of clinical trials. We now have a better understanding of some of the biological and behavioral factors that might contribute to inconsistent outcomes from probiotic interventions (e.g., differences in gut microbiota, diet, age, and lifestyle). Innovative research approaches are needed to understand the contributions and interactions of these factors and to advance methods for their assessment. There is growing interest in the development of individualized microbial therapeutics for targeted interventions in the probiotics literature, but wide gaps in knowledge still need to be addressed.

The goals of this workshop are to:1) identify gaps in our current understanding of the biology of the gut microbiota and of probiotics and 2) identify research questions and methodological challenges posed by those gaps. Knowledge developed through these activities will provide a critical foundation for future research efforts to develop “precision probiotic therapies.”


Tuesday, April 26, 2022; 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. ET

Wednesday, April 27, 2022; 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. ET

The agenda and speakers will be posted soon.

12 Participating National Institutes of Health Institutes, Centers, and Offices:

  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
  • National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
  • National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
  • National Institute on Aging (NIA)
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
  • Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)
  • Office of Nutrition Research (ONR)


Hye-Sook Kim, Ph.D. (NCCIH)

Barbara C. Sorkin, Ph.D. (ODS)

Joseph M. Betz, Ph.D. (ODS)

NIH workshop planning committee members:

Ashley Vargas, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D.N. (NICHD)

David A. Jett, Ph.D. (NINDS)

Frank Hamilton, M.D., M.P.H. (NIDDK)

Gabriela Riscuta, M.D., C.N.S. (NCI)

Roberto Flores, Ph.D., M.P.H. (ONR)

Li Lin, Ph.D. (NIAAA)

Mukesh Verma, Ph.D. (NCI)

Padma Maruvada, Ph.D. (NIDDK)

R. Dwayne Lunsford, Ph.D. (NCATS)

Ryan Ranallo, Ph.D. (NIAID)

Terez Shea-Donohue, Ph.D. (NIDDK)

Wen Chen, Ph.D. (NCCIH)

Xin (Jean) Yuan, Ph.D. (NIA)

Young Oh, Ph.D. (NHLBI) 

U.S. Department of Agriculture workshop planning committee member:

Cindy Davis, Ph.D. (Human Nutrition, Agricultural Research Service)


Precision Probiotic Therapies square