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Vision & Philosophy

Information Box Group


To understand the role of commensal microbes in the maintenance of health and in the expression of disease within and beyond the digestive tract.

To exploit this knowledge to develop innovative therapeutic approaches for the prevention & treatment of these diseases.

To train the next generation of scientists in GI research.


To achieve this vision, our philosophy is to adopt an integrative and translational approach to our research. Our integrative approach involves interdisciplinary research that promotes collaboration across conventional boundaries and include immune-physiology, neuro-psycho-immunology in relation to the microbiota. We believe that diet plays a critical role in both the expression and prevention of disease, and in the maintenance of health and part of our approach is the integration of nutritional science into our research, illustrated in our Nutrition Initiative. Our translational approach requires close collaboration with clinical scientists and practitioners, and access to well phenotyped patient groups. Our commitment to the development of innovative therapies is captured in our Microbial Therapy Initiative as well as our Nutrition Initiative. Our vision is supported by a strong infrastructure that includes a large axenic-gnotobiotic facility established in 2004 – the first in Canada in the molecular era. It also includes a state-of-the-art sequencing facility complemented by a Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Microbial Research that enables culture of the human and animal microbiotas. The Institute is closely linked to the Academic Division of Gastroenterology that not only supports our translational research philosophy but provides expertise in Clinical Research Methodology, Guideline Development, Knowledge Translation and Implementation Science. The Institute is committed to the development of the next generation of investigators in Canada and supports strong graduate and postgraduate training programs for young scientists and clinicians.