Curtis Huttenhower

Curtis Huttenhower
Harvard University | Harvard · Department of Biostatistics

About

658
Publications
146,982
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72,119
Citations
Citations since 2017
263 Research Items
63264 Citations
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Publications

Publications (658)
Article
BACKGROUND Variation in clinical response to 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) has been attributed in part to its inactivation by gut microbes. Recently, in the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Multi’omics Database (IBDMDB), a multicenter year-long cohort of 100+ participants with IBD, we identified 12 gut microbial enzymes from two protein families th...
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Whether the human fetus and the prenatal intrauterine environment (amniotic fluid and placenta) are stably colonized by microbial communities in a healthy pregnancy remains a subject of debate. Here we evaluate recent studies that characterized microbial populations in human fetuses from the perspectives of reproductive biology, microbial ecology,...
Article
The metabolome lies at the interface of host–microbiome crosstalk. Previous work has established links between chemically diverse microbial metabolites and a myriad of host physiological processes and diseases. Coupled with scalable and cost-effective technologies, metabolomics is thus gaining popularity as a tool for characterization of microbial...
Article
Background Only few longitudinal studies with high risk of bias have examined relationship between pets and adolescents' mental health. Methods Our prospective cohort study followed depression-free US adolescents aged 12–18, enrolled in the Growing Up Today Study from pet ownership assessment in 1999 to possible occurrence of high depressive sympt...
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Emerging experimental evidence indicates that toxicant-induced alterations in gut microbiota composition and activity may affect host homeostasis. However, data from human studies are scarce; to our knowledge, no previous studies have quantified the association of lifetime exposure to environmental chemicals, across multiple time points, with the c...
Preprint
Full-text available
The literature of human and other host-associated microbiome studies is expanding rapidly, but systematic comparisons among published results of host-associated microbiome signatures of differential abundance remain difficult. We present BugSigDB, a community-editable database of manually curated microbial signatures from published differential abu...
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Objective To assess whether maternal ultra-processed food intake during peripregnancy and during the child rearing period is associated with offspring risk of overweight or obesity during childhood and adolescence. Design Population based prospective cohort study. Setting The Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII) and the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS I...
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Microbiome studies of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) have achieved a scale for meta-analysis of dysbioses among populations. To enable microbial community meta-analyses generally, we develop MMUPHin for normalization, statistical meta-analysis, and population structure discovery using microbial taxonomic and functional profiles. Applying it to t...
Article
Studies of the human microbiome share both technical and conceptual similarities with genome-wide association studies and genetic epidemiology. However, the microbiome has many features that differ from genomes, such as its temporal and spatial variability, highly distinct genetic architecture and person-to-person variation. Moreover, there are var...
Preprint
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Metagenomic assembly enables novel organism discovery from microbial communities, but from most metagenomes it can only capture few abundant organisms. Here, we present a method - MetaPhlAn 4 - to integrate information from both metagenome assemblies and microbial isolate genomes for improved and more comprehensive metagenomic taxonomic profiling....
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Members of the human gut microbiome enzymatically process many bioactive molecules in the gastrointestinal tract. Most gut bacterial modifications characterized so far are hydrolytic or reductive in nature. Here we report that abundant human gut bacteria from the phylum Bacteroidetes perform conjugative modifications by selectively sulfonating ster...
Preprint
Background Characterization of microbial viability is essential to the understanding of the basic biology of microbial communities, as the function of a microbiome is defined by its biochemically active (“viable”) community members. Current sequence-based technologies can rarely differentiate microbial viability, due to their inability to distingui...
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Motivation: Modern biological screens yield enormous numbers of measurements, and identifying and interpreting statistically significant associations among features are essential. In experiments featuring multiple high-dimensional datasets collected from the same set of samples, it is useful to identify groups of associated features between the da...
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Microbial communities and their associated bioactive compounds1–3 are often disrupted in conditions such as the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)⁴. However, even in well-characterized environments (for example, the human gastrointestinal tract), more than one-third of microbial proteins are uncharacterized and often expected to be bioactive5–7. Her...
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Objectives Imidazole propionate (ImP), a microbiota metabolite from histidine, has been linked to cardiometabolic conditions in humans. The current study aimed to elucidate inter-relationships between histidine intake, gut microbial composition and functional potentials, circulating ImP levels, and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in U.S. a...
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The gut microbiome is a critical modulator of host immunity and is linked to the immune response to respiratory viral infections. However, few studies have gone beyond describing broad compositional alterations in severe COVID-19, defined as acute respiratory or other organ failure. We profiled 127 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 (n=79 with sev...
Article
Background and aims: Evidence supports a carcinogenic role of Escherichia coli carrying the polyketide synthase (pks) island that encodes enzymes for colibactin biosynthesis. We hypothesized that the association of western-style diet (rich in red and processed meat) with colorectal cancer incidence might be stronger for tumors containing higher am...
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Elucidating how resident enteric bacteria interact with their hosts to promote health or inflammation is of central importance to diarrheal and inflammatory bowel diseases across species. Here, we integrate the microbial and chemical microenvironment of a patient's ileal mucosa with their clinical phenotype and genotype to identify factors favoring...
Article
Microbiology has long studied the ways in which subtle genetic differences between closely related microbial strains can have profound impacts on their phenotypes and those of their surrounding environments and communities. Despite the growth in high-throughput microbial community profiling, however, such strain-level differences remain challenging...
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Full-text available
The microbiota modulates gut immune homeostasis. Bacteria influence the development and function of host immune cells, including T helper cells expressing interleukin-17A (TH17 cells). We previously reported that the bile acid metabolite 3-oxolithocholic acid (3-oxoLCA) inhibits TH17 cell differentiation1. Although it was suggested that gut-residin...
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Full-text available
Background The conversion of plant lignans to bioactive enterolignans in the gastrointestinal tract is mediated through microbial processing. The goal of this study was to examine the relationships between lignan intake, plasma enterolactone concentrations, gut microbiome composition, and metabolic risk in free-living male adults. Results In 303 m...
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The gut microbiome is increasingly recognized to play a role in cognition and dementia. Antibiotic use impacts the gut microbiome and has been linked with chronic disease. Despite these data, there is no evidence supporting an association between long-term antibiotic use in adults and cognitive function. We conducted a prospective population-based...
Article
The human gut microbiota resides within a diverse chemical environment challenging our ability to understand the forces shaping this ecosystem. Here, we reveal that fitness of the Bacteroidales, the dominant order of bacteria in the human gut, is an emergent property of glycans and one specific metabolite, butyrate. Distinct sugars serve as strain-...
Article
In pre‐clinical models, the composition and function of the gut microbiota have been linked to bone growth and homeostasis, but there are few available data from studies of human populations. In a hypothesis generating experiment in a large cohort of community‐dwelling older men (N = 831, age range 78–98 years), we explored the associations between...
Article
Another benefit of dietary fiber The gut microbiome can modulate the immune system and influence the therapeutic response of cancer patients, yet the mechanisms underlying the effects of microbiota are presently unclear. Spencer et al . add to our understanding of how dietary habits affect microbiota and clinical outcomes to immunotherapy. In an ob...
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Full-text available
It is challenging to associate features such as human health outcomes, diet, environmental conditions, or other metadata to microbial community measurements, due in part to their quantitative properties. Microbiome multi-omics are typically noisy, sparse (zero-inflated), high-dimensional, extremely non-normal, and often in the form of count or comp...
Preprint
Full-text available
Modern biological screens yield enormous numbers of measurements, and identifying and interpreting statistically significant associations among features is essential. Here, we present a novel hierarchical framework, HAllA (Hierarchical All-against-All association testing), for structured association discovery between paired high-dimensional dataset...
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Full-text available
Importance Sulfur-metabolizing bacteria that reduce dietary sulfur to hydrogen sulfide have been associated with colorectal cancer (CRC). However, there are limited studies investigating the association between diet and sulfur-metabolizing bacteria in the development of CRC. Objective To develop a dietary score that correlates with gut sulfur–meta...
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Context The interrelationships among the gut microbiome, the MedDiet and a clinical endpoint of diabetes is unknown. Objectives To identify gut microbial features of a MedDiet and examine whether the association between MedDiet and diabetes varies across individuals with different gut microbial profiles. Methods This study included 543 diabetes,...
Article
Motivation: Identifying variant forms of gene clusters of interest in phylogenetically proximate and distant taxa can help to infer their evolutionary histories and functions. Conserved gene clusters may differ by only a few genes, but these small differences can in turn induce substantial phenotypes, such as by the formation of pseudogenes or ins...
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The particularly interdisciplinary nature of human microbiome research makes the organization and reporting of results spanning epidemiology, biology, bioinformatics, translational medicine and statistics a challenge. Commonly used reporting guidelines for observational or genetic epidemiology studies lack key features specific to microbiome studie...
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African Americans have the highest pancreatic cancer incidence of any racial/ethnic group in the United States. The oral microbiome was associated with pancreatic cancer risk in a recent study, but no such studies have been conducted in African Americans. Poor oral health, which can be a cause or effect of microbial populations, was associated with...
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Full-text available
Many methods have been developed for statistical analysis of microbial community profiles, but due to the complex nature of typical microbiome measurements (e.g. sparsity, zero-inflation, non-independence, and compositionality) and of the associated underlying biology, it is difficult to compare or evaluate such methods within a single systematic f...
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Full-text available
Introduction: We recently described the sulfur microbial diet, a pattern of intake associated with increased gut sulfur-metabolizing bacteria and incidence of distal colorectal cancer (CRC). We assessed whether this risk differed by CRC molecular subtypes or presence of intratumoral microbes involved in CRC pathogenesis (Fusobacterium nucleatum an...
Article
Bile acids act as signaling molecules that regulate immune homeostasis, including the differentiation of CD4⁺ T cells into distinct T cell subsets. The bile acid metabolite isoallolithocholic acid (isoalloLCA) enhances the differentiation of anti-inflammatory regulatory T cells (Treg cells) by facilitating the formation of a permissive chromatin st...
Article
Shotgun metatranscriptomics (MTX) is an increasingly practical way to survey microbial community gene function and regulation at scale. This review begins by summarizing the motivations for community transcriptomics and the history of the field. We then explore the principles, best practices, and challenges of contemporary MTX workflows: beginning...
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Background & aims: Diet may contribute to the increasing incidence of colorectal cancer (CRC) before age 50 (early-onset CRC). Microbial metabolism of dietary sulfur produces hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a gastrointestinal carcinogen that cannot be easily measured at scale. As a result, evidence supporting its role in early neoplasia is lacking. Metho...
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Full-text available
Motivation Metatranscriptomics (MTX) has become an increasingly practical way to profile the functional activity of microbial communities in situ. However, MTX remains underutilized due to experimental and computational limitations. The latter are complicated by non-independent changes in both RNA transcript levels and their underlying genomic DNA...
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Background A higher intake of dietary fiber is associated with a decreased risk of chronic inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease and inflammatory bowel disease. This may function in part due to abrogation of chronic systemic inflammation induced by factors such as dysbiotic gut communities. Data regarding the detailed influences of l...
Article
Background Healthy plant-based diet index (hPDI) is associated with a lower risk of cardiometabolic conditions, but its association as well as interactions with microbiome have not been elucidated. Objectives We aimed to investigate the interrelations between hPDI, gut microbiome, and cardiometabolic risk markers. Methods hPDI was derived from di...
Preprint
Full-text available
Motivation Identifying gene clusters of interest in phylogenetically proximate and distant taxa can help to infer phenotypes of interest. Conserved gene clusters may differ by only a few genes, which can be biologically meaningful, such as the formation of pseudogenes or insertions interrupting regulation. These qualities may allow for unsupervised...
Article
Background: Inflammation and one of its mediators, NF-kappa B (NFκB), have been implicated in prostate cancer carcinogenesis. We assessed whether germline polymorphisms associated with NFκB are associated with the risk of developing lethal disease (metastases or death from prostate cancer). Methods: Using a Bayesian approach leveraging NFκB biol...
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Full-text available
Culture-independent analyses of microbial communities have progressed dramatically in the last decade, particularly due to advances in methods for biological profiling via shotgun metagenomics. Opportunities for improvement continue to accelerate, with greater access to multi-omics, microbial reference genomes, and strain-level diversity. To levera...
Article
Objectives Gut-produced trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is postulated as a possible link between red meat intake and poor cardiometabolic health. We investigated whether gut microbiome could modify associations of dietary precursors with TMAO concentrations and cardiometabolic risk markers among free-living individuals. Design We collected up to two...
Article
A lack of prospective studies has been a major barrier for assessing the role of the microbiome in human health and disease on a population-wide scale. To address this significant knowledge gap, we have launched a large-scale collection targeting fecal and oral microbiome specimens from 20,000 women within the Nurses’ Health Study II cohort (the Mi...
Article
Human microbiome science has advanced rapidly and reached a scale at which basic biology, clinical translation and population health are increasingly integrated. It is thus now possible for public health researchers, practitioners and policymakers to take specific action leveraging current and future microbiome-based opportunities and best practice...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many methods have been developed for statistical analysis of microbial community profiles, but due to the complex nature of typical microbiome measurements (e.g. sparsity, zero-inflation, non-independence, and compositionality) and of the associated underlying biology, it is difficult to compare or evaluate such methods within a single systematic f...
Article
Purpose: There is potetial for fecal microbiome profilig to improve colorectal cacer screeig. This has bee demostrated by research studies, but it has ot bee quatified at scale usig samples collected ad processed routiely by a atioal screeig program. Experimetal Desig: Betwee 2016 ad 2019, the largest of the NHS Bowel Cacer Screeig Programme hubs p...
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Purpose: While evidence indicates that Fusobacterium nucleatum may promote colorectal carcinogenesis through its suppressive effect on T-cell-mediated antitumor immunity, the specific T-cell subsets involved remain uncertain. Experimental design: We measured F. nucleatum DNA within tumor tissue by quantitative PCR on 933 cases (including 128 F....
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Full-text available
The gut microbiome is shaped by diet and influences host metabolism; however, these links are complex and can be unique to each individual. We performed deep metagenomic sequencing of 1,203 gut microbiomes from 1,098 individuals enrolled in the Personalised Responses to Dietary Composition Trial (PREDICT 1) study, whose detailed long-term diet info...
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Full-text available
To address how the microbiome might modify the interaction between diet and cardiometabolic health, we analyzed longitudinal microbiome data from 307 male participants in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, together with long-term dietary information and measurements of biomarkers of glucose homeostasis, lipid metabolism and inflammation from...
Article
Full-text available
Perturbation of natural microbial communities by antimicrobials, such as triclosan, can result in selection for antibiotic tolerance, which is of particular concern when pathogens are present. Members of the genus Pseudomonas are found in many natural microbial communities and frequently demonstrate increased abundance following triclosan exposure....
Article
Full-text available
Background High-throughput sequencing provides a powerful window into the structural and functional profiling of microbial communities, but it is unable to characterize only the viable portion of microbial communities at scale. There is as yet not one best solution to this problem. Previous studies have established viability assessments using propi...
Preprint
Full-text available
It is challenging to associate features such as human health outcomes, diet, environmental conditions, or other metadata to microbial community measurements, due in part to their quantitative properties. Microbiome multi-omics are typically noisy, sparse (zero-inflated), high-dimensional, extremely non-normal, and often in the form of count or comp...
Preprint
The microbiota plays a pivotal role in gut immune homeostasis. Bacteria influence the development and function of host immune cells, including T helper cells expressing interleukin-17a (T H 17 cells). We previously reported that the bile acid metabolite 3-oxolithocholic acid (3-oxoLCA) inhibits T H 17 cell differentiation. While it was suggested th...
Preprint
Bile acids act as signaling molecules that regulate immune homeostasis, including the differentiation of CD4 ⁺ T cells into distinct T cell subsets. The bile acid metabolite isoallolithocholic acid (isoalloLCA) enhances the differentiation of anti-inflammatory regulatory T cells (T reg cells) by facilitating the formation of a permissive chromatin...
Article
Full-text available
Background Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of healthcare- and community-associated infections and can be difficult to treat due to antimicrobial resistance. About 30% of individuals carry S. aureus asymptomatically in their nares, a risk factor for later infection, and interactions with other species in the nasal microbiome likely modulate...
Article
Full-text available
Mode of delivery strongly influences the early infant gut microbiome. Children born by cesarean section (C-section) lack Bacteroides species until 6–18 months of age. One hypothesis is that these differences stem from lack of exposure to the maternal vaginal microbiome. Here, we re-evaluate this hypothesis by comparing the microbial profiles of 75...
Preprint
Full-text available
Culture-independent analyses of microbial communities have advanced dramatically in the last decade, particularly due to advances in methods for biological profiling via shotgun metagenomics. Opportunities for improvement continue to accelerate, with greater access to multi-omics, microbial reference genomes, and strain-level diversity. To leverage...
Article
Full-text available
Objective To characterize the gut microbiota in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) relative to controls and to test the hypothesis that butyrate-producing bacteria are less abundant in the gastrointestinal tracts of people with ALS (PALS). Methods: We conducted a case–control study at Massachusetts General Hospital to compare the gut m...
Article
Many bacteria resist invasive DNA by incorporating sequences into CRISPR loci, which enable sequence-specific degradation. CRISPR systems have been well studied from isolate genomes, but culture-independent metagenomics provide a new window into their diversity. We profiled CRISPR loci and cas genes in the body-wide human microbiome using 2,355 met...
Preprint
Full-text available
Microbial community studies in general, and of the human microbiome in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in particular, have now achieved a scale at which it is practical to associate features of the microbiome with environmental exposures and health outcomes across multiple large-scale populations. This permits the development of rigorous meta-anal...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: High-throughput sequencing provides a powerful window into the structural and functional profiling of microbial communities, but it is unable to characterize only the viable portion of microbial communities at scale. There is as yet not one best solution to this problem. Previous studies have established viability assessments using prop...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background High-throughput sequencing provides a powerful window into the structural and functional profiling of microbial communities, but it is unable to characterize only the viable portion of microbial communities at scale. There is as yet not one best solution to this problem. Previous studies have established viability assessments using propi...
Article
Full-text available
The biological importance and varied metabolic capabilities of specific microbial strains have long been established in the scientific community. Strains have, in the past, been largely defined and characterized based on microbial isolates. However, the emergence of new technologies and techniques has enabled assessments of their ecology and phenot...
Article
Background & Aims Firmicutes bacteria produce metabolites that maintain the intestinal barrier and mucosal immunity. Firmicutes are reduced in the intestinal microbiota of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). In a phase 1b trial of patients with UC, we evaluated the safety and efficacy of SER-287, an oral formulation of Firmicutes spores, and the...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Eubacterium rectale is one of the most prevalent human gut bacteria, but its diversity and population genetics are not well understood because large-scale whole-genome investigations of this microbe have not been carried out. Results: Here, we leverage metagenomic assembly followed by a reference-based binning strategy to screen over...