The Texas Medical Center Genomic Center for Infectious Diseases (GCID) was established by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in 2019. The primary objective will be achieved through the collaborative efforts of a multidisciplinary, integrated team of basic and physician scientists who are at three institutions — Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health, and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The overall goal of our GCID is to:

Leverage our decades of experience in genomic sequencing technology with our renown clinical expertise, and the use of novel ex vivo models of human intestinal and pulmonary function, to create a platform for large scale genomics-based interrogation of host-mucosal pathogen interactions in the context of human tissues.

Utilize this platform for the discovery of panels of therapeutic and diagnostic targets based on host and microbial genomic and transcriptomic profiles.

Bacterial Project 1 will dissect the genomic elements that confer the ability of pathogenic members of the Enterobacteriaceae and Enterococcaceae to associate with the human intestinal mucosa while also determining the host response to this association.

Viral Project 2 will leverage integrated analyses of human norovirus (HuNoV) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)  full-length genomic sequences with characterization of the ecological niche (bacteriome and virome) of well-chosen clinical samples collected over time from clinically relevant patient sub-groups.

Parasite Project 3 will build on a novel Cryptosporidium discovery made by the project leaders and test the hypothesis that one or more indole-producing commensal microbes in the gut can prevent or eliminate Cryptosporidium infection. 

All four research projects will utilize intestinal and lung organoid cultures, derived from human biopsies, along with niche-specific, defined microbial communities supplied by the Organoid and Minibioreactor Array Cultivation Core and a large collection of unique clinical samples and isolates, incorporating cutting edge, high-throughput sequencing strategies and technologies supplied by the Sequencing Technology (ST) Core, to generate paradigm-shifting discoveries, data, tools, and reagents that will be disseminated to the infectious disease community through the Data Management Analysis and Resource Dissemination (DMARD) Core.

The result will be a comprehensive genetic profiling of hosts and microbes in infection models that will reveal pathogen genetic variants, as well as individual host response phenotypes that will inform precision medicine-based therapeutics and diagnostics, not just for the pathogens in this proposal, but for a broad spectrum of mucosal diseases and their associated infectious agents that severely impact human health.

The TMC-GCID is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institute of Health under the award number 1U19AI144297-01.

Key Personnel

Joseph Petrosino, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator
Baylor College of Medicine

Richard Gibbs, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator
Baylor College of Medicine