Session 10 – Gene Editing & Microbiome
Date: 26 July (Friday) 14:00 – 18:00 Venue: 3F, Bldg. A, CTBC Financial Park, Ballroom B
Dr. Kong received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. After completing dermatology residency at Duke University where she served as chief resident, she was a clinical research fellow in the Dermatology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute (NCI), and obtained her master’s degree in the NIH-Duke University Master’s Program in Clinical Research. She successfully competed to be one of two inaugural Assistant Clinical Investigators in NCI and became a tenure-track investigator in 2011. Dr. Kong’s research interest is in the skin microbiome which uses genomics to study the bacteria, fungi, and viruses on human skin. Dr. Kong is focused on understanding the communities of microbes that are present in and on our bodies and how these microbes may be influencing health and disease, particularly patients with atopic dermatitis and primary immunodeficiency syndromes associated with eczematous dermatitis. Her work has been foundational in the field of skin microbiome research. She cares for patients with eczematous dermatitis in the NIH Clinical Center and is actively researching how microbes may be contributing to this skin disease.
Session Speech Title & Synopsis: Unraveling the human skin microbiome in dermatologic diseases
Metagenomic analyses of multiple diverse body sites have demonstrated that the healthy human skin microbiome is defined by skin biogeography, individuality, and relative stability. These studies in healthy skin have been fundamental in guiding research exploring how microbiomes differ in, and may affect, skin diseases, including atopic dermatitis and primary immunodeficiency associated eczematous dermatitis. We longitudinally sampled the skin of patients with atopic dermatitis and explored a model examining the contribution of patient-derived staphylococcal strains to exacerbations in this disease. This delineation of highly individualized skin microbiomes with patient-specific strains reflects the individuality of the disease course and therapeutic response in atopic dermatitis patients. In infants enrolled in a birth cohort, a lower relative abundance of commensal staphylococci on skin in young infants was associated with an increased incidence of atopic dermatitis at twelve months of age, raising the question of how early life microbiomes may contribute to subsequent disease development and/or serve as a biomarker of later disease. In addition, primary immunodeficient patients manifest with various viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections, including skin infections, and present an opportunity to expand our understanding of microbial–host interactions. Our work is focused on understanding the factors that alter human skin microbes and vice versa.