Functional Manipulation of the Gut Microbiome Using Native Bacterial Chassis

Amir Zarrinpar, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Division of Gastroenterology 

Director, Physician Scientist Training Program 

University of California, San Diego 

Seminar Information

Seminar Date
October 6, 2023 - 2:00 PM

The FUNG Auditorium - PFBH

Amir Zarrinpar, MD, PhD


The gut microbiome, a vast community of microbes residing within our intestines, is intricately linked to our health and disease state. While live bacterial therapeutics (LBTs) have shown immense promise in reversing certain diseases, challenges persist in ensuring their survival and function within the luminal environment of conventionally raised (CR) hosts. In our recent study, we explored the potential of utilizing native Escherichia coli isolated from CR mice as viable chassis for transgene delivery. These bacteria were engineered to express specific functional genes and upon reintroduction, demonstrated sustained engraftment in the intestine. More intriguingly, the engineered native E. coli induced functional alterations that reversed pathological states in CR hosts even months post-administration. In this presentation, we delve deeper into the practical implications of this groundbreaking approach. Specifically, we shed light on how it provides a more nuanced understanding of the gut microbiome's role in aging. Furthermore, we'll illustrate its potential in paving the way for innovative therapeutic interventions for a number of diseases.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Amir Zarrinpar is a physician scientist and a practicing gastroenterologist with an interest in the connections between circadian biology, gut health, and the microbiome. His work primarily focuses on understanding the role these factors play in common conditions like obesity, diabetes, NAFLD, and other gut-related diseases. After obtaining his A.B degree from Harvard University, Dr. Zarrinpar continued his education at UC San Diego where he achieved his M.D./Ph.D. He further honed his clinical and research skills during his residency, fellowship here at UC San Diego, and performing his postdoctoral work at the Salk Institute, working on the role of circadian biology in metabolism under the guidance of Satchin Panda. His recent studies have explored the potential of the gut microbiome in health and disease management. One notable finding from his team, detailed how engineered gut bacteria can impact host health. On the clinical side, he's been actively involved in the weight control program at the VA San Diego. His work has garnered support from several organizations, including the NIDDk, NHLBI, NCI, NIBIB, NIAID, and NIMH, as well as several foundation awards, including most recently the LItwin IBD Pioneers Award. He was recently recognized by the physician scientist community with an election to the American Society of Clinical Investigators.