Gut instincts

Could better understanding of the gut lead to new treatments of ailments in the head?

That’s the question being asked by Bo Li and her colleagues. Li, an assistant professor of chemistry in the College of Arts & Sciences, has been named a 2016 Rita Allen Foundation Scholar, and the honor comes with funding to support a project to mine the genomes of bacteria that reside in the human digestive tract.

These gut-associated bacteria “are already in the human body, so the small molecules they’re making will have an impact on human biology,” Li says. “But very little is known about this area. So my lab is building a program using genomics to identify specialized metabolites from these bacteria.”

Read the complete Carolina Story from the UNC College of Arts & Sciences…

This is story number 205 in the Carolina Stories 225th Anniversary Edition magazine.

The Department of Chemistry in the UNC College of Arts & Sciences celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2018.

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