Statement from Dr. Charu Kaushic and Dr. Norman Rosenblum: World Microbiome Day

The trillions of individual bacteria and viruses that live on the surface and inside the human body, known as the human microbiome, have challenged medicine’s view of microorganisms solely as agents of infectious disease. They are integral to development, maturation and normal function of the human body. In particular these microbes activate and maintain stability in the immune system and metabolism. To acknowledge the importance of better understanding the link between humans, their microbiomes and health-related outcomes, June 27th 2019 is recognized as World Microbiome Day, an occasion to increase awareness and discuss all things microbe, all around the world.

Microbiome research continues to be a strategic health priority for CIHR. Since 2007, the Canadian Microbiome Initiative has funded Canadian researchers who are conducting transformative studies on the microbiome that will improve the health of Canadians. From 2007-08 to 2017-18, CIHR has invested more than $89M in research related to the microbiome, and with the launch of Canadian Microbiome Initiative 2, we will continue to strengthen Canada’s position as an international leader in microbiome research through multi-centre collaborations and national level resource sharing.

Today, on World Microbiome Day,  CIHR-III, INMD, IG and IGH, in collaboration with IA, ICR, IHDCYH and INMHA are hosting the Canadian Microbiome Initiative 2 Research Teams Strengthening Workshop in Montreal, Quebec. The workshop brings together the 19 Research Teams successful at the LOI stage of this funding opportunity, who are studying a wide range of microbiome research areas including asthma, diabetes and cancer, with other national and international researchers and partners. This gathering of experts and the outcomes of their coordinated efforts is advancing our medical and scientific understanding of the far-reaching effects of the microbiome on human health and disease.

One of these experts is Dr. Kathy McCoy, Scientific Director of the International Microbiome Centre (IMC) at the University of Calgary and Nominated Principal Applicant of the successful CIHR Canadian Microbiome Initiative Research Core, known as the Integrated Microbiome Platforms for Advancing Causation Testing and Translation, or IMPACTT. She has brought together a cross-disciplinary group of 14 investigators made up of microbiologists, immunologists, epidemiologists, clinician scientists, ethicists, sex/gender champions and computational biologists from across Canada. As part of their mandate, IMPACTT will provide access to world-class microbiome facilities, along with technological and analytical expertise to Canadian scientists to ensure they are able to move their microbiome research from association to causation. 

We would like to recognize Canadian researchers working across all themes of microbiome research. Your efforts and contributions are vital to improving the overall health and wellness of Canadians. We look forward to this new chapter of microbiome research in Canada and the exciting findings yet to come.


Dr. Charu Kaushic
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity

Dr. Norman Rosenblum
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes

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