Dr. Karen Madsen is Professor of Medicine and the Director of the “Center of Excellence for Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Immunity Research (CEGIIR)” at the University of Alberta. After receiving her BSc (Hon) and MSc degrees in Biochemistry at the University of Manitoba, she completed a PhD degree at the University of Calgary. She did postdoctoral training in gastrointestinal inflammation and immunology at the University of Alberta. The goal of her research program is to gain a mechanistic understanding of environmental and dietary influences on host-microbial interactions in order to design effective therapies to treat human disease based on manipulation of the gut microbiome. She is carrying out both clinical and basic research studies using dietary interventions, fecal microbial transplantation, and probiotic/prebiotic therapy to treat inflammatory bowel disease along with mechanistic studies to examine how the host responds to microbial manipulation. She has published over 150 research papers and book chapters. She has received several prestigious awards in recognition of her excellence in research and teaching, including awards from the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation, Canadian Association for Medical Education, and the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology. Her research program is funded by Alberta Innovates, Weston Foundation, and Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
The microbial ecosystem within the human gut is highly complex and its composition varies widely across individuals. Potential for advances in microbiome research to reveal largely untapped areas for therapeutic interventions in human disease processes is immense. It has become widely recognized that gut microbes have important roles in human physiology and modulate host immunity, metabolic function, and mood. Thus, the concept that manipulation of the human gut microbiota through various means such as dietary modifications, prebiotics, probiotics, and fecal microbial transplantation may be beneficial as a therapeutic intervention for treatment of human disease has arisen. This presentation will focus on the use of live microbial supplements in the form of probiotics or fecal microbial transplantation (FMT) to manage human chronic inflammatory diseases including helping to improve mental health in persons with underlying chronic disease. The objectives of the presentation are: 1. To understand how gut microbes interact with the brain and influence mental health 2. To examine how manipulation of the gut microbiota can influence chronic inflammatory disease 3. To examine the evidence for the efficacy of probiotics and FMT in treatment of chronic disease