Hill's Pet Nutrition and Harvard researcher align on microbiome research

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Solskin
© GettyImages/Solskin

Related tags microbiome research microbial community Hill's Pet Nutrition Harvard immune development

Hill's Pet Nutrition and a Harvard researcher are teaming up to create a unified platform focused on human and pet microbiomes.

The Kansa, US headquartered pet nutrition company is linking up with Dr Curtis Huttenhower, professor of computational biology and bioinformatics at Harvard Chan School and also co-director of the Harvard Chan Microbiome in Public Health Center, on the initiative.

Microbiome research has become a major area of focus in terms of securing further insights into human and animal health and disease.

The platform, the One Health Microbiome Resource (OHMR), will be the largest and most comprehensive reference database of human and companion animal microbiomes, providing opportunities to understand the health of both pets and pet owners, said the partners.

All the resources and data within the OHMR will be available to the entire scientific community for the advancement of microbiome research.

Dr Huttenhower said the platform will provide a new way to improve both human and animal health through nutrition, better environmental exposures, and inter-individual resource sharing on a day-to-day basis. It includes microbial genomes, companion animal microbial community profiles, and tools to utilize them together.

Microbiome-aware diets

"In the past decade, we've learned quite a bit about the human microbiome that can be applied to pets, and with the OHMR, we hope to expand this, and make the reverse true as well. Living with pets is already known to improve immune development in infants, and the OHMR will help us to understand how and why this occurs. Plus, it's especially important to build healthy, microbiome-aware diets for pets."

As part of the collaboration, Hill's Pet Nutrition has provided DNA sequencing resources that dwarf those previously included in the scientific literature, expanding them by a factor of almost five-fold. The company maintains that this data will enable entirely new types of companion animal microbiome analyses and further improve the field's ability to understand the microbiome in human health.

Hill's has been investing in pet microbiome research for over 10 years. Better understanding of the microbiome may reveal how a pet's health can be positively impacted by nutrition, said the developer.

Related topics R&D North America Gut Health Pet Food

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