The NIH ME/CFS Research Network has launched a webinar series featuring each of the Collaborative Research Centers (CRCs) at Cornell University, Columbia University, and The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), plus the Data Management Coordinating Center (DMCC) at RTI. In the latest webinar in the series, Derya Unutmaz, PhD, the Principal Investigator and Director for the JAX Center for ME/CFS, and the team at JAX discuss their latest findings.
The webinar kicks off with Dr. Unutmaz giving a talk called “Metabolic and Immunological Perturbations During ME/CFS,” where he summarizes the work that his group has been doing since the NIH grant was funded in 2017. The JAX team has worked in collaboration with their clinical core at the Bateman Horne Center (BHC) to collect blood and stool samples at three timepoints from ME/CFS patients and age- and sex-matched healthy controls. They then conducted immune profiling and metabolic analysis on the blood samples, and microbiome profiling on the stool samples.
The overarching goals of the project are to determine the differences between ME/CFS patients and healthy controls, and also to link these data together to build a computational interactome to develop hypotheses about the pathogenicity of this disease and discover biomarkers. During his talk, Dr. Unutmaz explains the role of T-cells, innate and adaptive immunity as well as the immune-microbiome disequilibrium they have found in ME/CFS patients, plus their research plan for the remaining time of the study.
After the presentation, there is a Q&A panel where CAC member Jessie Brown-Clark asks Derya and his collaborators Julia Oh, PhD, and Suzanne Vernon, PhD, questions from the ME/CFS community about their research. The panelists discuss the design of the study, machine learning, microbiome and metabolic dysbiosis seen in ME/CFS, and the recent addition of a long-COVID cohort to the study.