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NCCIH Research Blog

New Funding Opportunities for Mechanistic Research on Precision Probiotic Therapies

July 2, 2024


Hye-Sook Kim, Ph.D.

Program Director

Basic and Mechanistic Research in Complementary and Integrative Health Branch

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

View biographical sketch

Probiotics may have many health benefits, but it has been difficult to pin them down. One reason why is that individuals may respond differently to the same probiotic, perhaps because of differences in age, genetic background, health history, or lifestyle, or because of differences in the microorganisms living in their digestive tracts. 

To get the most out of probiotics, we need to take a precision medicine approach. Precision medicine, also called personalized medicine, involves a shift away from “one-size-fits-all” health care to therapies tailored for specific groups of people. To develop precision probiotic therapies, we need to understand the reasons why individuals’ responses to probiotics differ and use that knowledge to identify the people most likely to benefit from a specific probiotic treatment.

I’m pleased to announce two new notices of funding opportunity (NOFOs) for research to accelerate the development of precision probiotics:

These NOFOs aim to identify, understand, and develop strategies to address barriers in precision probiotic interventions to account for the differences among people that often cause inconsistent responses to probiotics. Specifically, the NOFOs solicit applications that will characterize person-specific features affecting probiotic responses to identify subgroups of probiotic responders, which may then help enhance probiotic clinical outcomes. The first application receipt date is October 1, 2024, and the final receipt date is June 2, 2027. 

NCCIH’s Interests in Precision Probiotics

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is one of several components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) participating in these NOFOs. Our specific interest is in mechanistic research to identify and characterize person-specific factors that affect probiotic responses for specific health conditions within our Center’s mission. Topics of special interest to us include pain, stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders; health promotion and restoration; resilience; metabolic and mental disorders; and gastrointestinal dysfunction. 

If your research interests don’t align with ours, please review the interests of the other participating Institutes and Centers, as described in the funding opportunities. They include the National Institute on Aging (NIA), National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), and National Cancer Institute (NCI). The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), and Office of Nutrition Research (ONR) may co-fund applications. The scientific program staff at all the Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs) highly encourage you to contact them to share your study aims and determine whether you have a good match before you develop your application. Program staff can also talk with you about the differences between the two NOFOs so you can choose the one that’s appropriate for your project. 

If you’re planning to apply, please carefully read through the NOFOs. There is valuable information about the background, research objectives, specific requirements for the R61 and R33 phases of proposed studies, and the R61 to R33 transition criteria and process, as well as each ICO’s specific interest areas and guidance, under “Section 1. Funding Opportunity Description.” 

We look forward to hearing about your study aims and research interests related to mechanistic research for precision probiotics.

For More Information

Precision Probiotic Therapies—Challenges and Opportunities (April 26–27, 2022) – View the executive summary and archived video of this scientific workshop.


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