Weston Family Microbiome Initiative

The Weston Family Microbiome Initiative funds transformative research on the microbiome that will improve the health of Canadians.

Microbiome Man blue - square reduced
What is the microbiome?

The human microbiome is a collective term for the trillions of bacteria from several hundred species that inhabit the body. They are found everywhere – in the gut, the mouth, the skin, the lungs – in thousands of discrete communities that are thought to have critical roles in bodily function, health and disease. The importance of the microbiome in human physiology has led some to describe it as the ‘hidden organ’.

Why is microbiome research important?

It is only recently that scientists have begun to uncover how and to what extent the microbiome affects our general health and wellbeing. Traditionally we think of bacteria as harmful organisms that cause infectious diseases, but growing evidence suggests that our microbial ecosystem plays a critical role in a healthy functioning body. Our microbiome is likely linked to many chronic diseases (e.g. obesity, asthma, heart disease) and also neurological disease (e.g. depression and anxiety) – the absence or presence of certain bacteria and their interactions with their host (our body) may encourage or prevent these diseases. This field of research is extremely new, so finding more evidence to support these links and develop pre- and probiotics that treat these diseases is critical to improving human health.

Probiotics = Living bacteria that confer a health benefit to a host, for example, the ‘good’ bacteria in yoghurt.

Prebiotics = Food that changes or modulates the microbiome to confer a health benefit, that is, the food that our bacteria need to thrive.

What is the Weston Family Microbiome Initiative?

The Weston Family Microbiome Initiative provides support for innovative microbiome research in Canada. Funded projects typically focus on the development of new therapies to treat disease, and preventative strategies to improve overall health such as diet modifications. Projects are translational research at any point along the development pathway (discovery, pre-clinical, clinical, etc.)

Applicants must be based at Canadian research institutions that are qualified CRA donees.

How can I apply?

The next round of funding will open for applications in Winter 2017 and close in Spring 2018. Further details to follow.

If you would like to receive notifications of calls for funding for the Weston Family Microbiome Initiative, please email info@westonfoundation.org