Department of Medicine

Department of Medicine



Pitt-UPMC Center for Medicine and the Microbiome

The White House served as the backdrop for Dr. Alison Morris’s unveiling of the Center for Medicine and the Microbiome, a venture between the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences and UPMC. It was May 2016 and Dr. Morris was a participant in a conference held as part of the launch of the National Microbiome Initiative.

The microbiome refers to the trillions of microbes that live in the human body. Researchers want to learn how they affect health and disease—and how the microbes can be harnessed to develop new therapies.

Dr. Morris will direct the Center for Medicine and the Microbiome, which was funded with more than $5 million provided by the Department of Medicine, UPMC and UPMC Enterprises. The Pitt School of Dental Medicine and uBiome, Inc., a microbial genomics company based in San Francisco, also have contributed to Center activities.

Mark T. Gladwin MD, chair of the Department of Medicine and Dr. Jack D. Myers Professor Internal Medicine at Pitt, said the microbiome involves many organs and touches many areas of medicine. As such, he added, “microbiome research requires collaboration among numerous disciplines of science and medicine—something that UPMC and Pitt have a proven track record of achieving.”

Dr. Morris said she expects the Center for Medicine and the Microbiome “to usher in a new era of care with what we learn leading to therapies for diseases and conditions ranging from obesity to cancer.”

She is UPMC Chair for Translational Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in Pitt’s School of Medicine. Dr. Morris is also a professor in the Pitt Department of Medicine’s Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, with a joint appointment in the Department of Immunology.