Gut Microbiology for Warfighter Resilience

This program is exploring host-microbial interactions in response to stressors, with a long-term goal of enhancing warfighter resilience. The bulk of this program is focused on understanding the effects of psychological, social and environmental stressors on the host and its gut microbiota (GM), in particular the role of the gut-microbiota-brain axis plays in mediating effects of such exposures. Also of interest are host/microbiome interactions that relate to sensory systems such as auditory and olfactory systems with the intent of enhancing resilience or conferring new capabilities. This program will inform novel strategies to increase resilience of our warfighters to these insults via manipulation of the gut microbial community. Note that this program is not interested in the role of microbiome in infectious or autoimmune diseases, pregnancy or neonatal issues, or metabolic disorders (e.g., diabetes, obesity).

Research Concentration Areas

  • Microbiomes/Host Response to Stressors
  • Microbiome Engineering

Research Challenges and Opportunities

  • Fundamental research to understand the complex signaling and interactions between the host and its commensal microbiome following exposure to stressors, such as disrupted sleep, extreme environmental conditions, anxiety or fear
  • Adapt environmental microbiology methods to study host/microbiome systems and establish causal relationships between specific microbes, genes, metabolites and functions
  • Ascertain the effects of pre-/pro-biotic interventions on the stress response
  • Explore strategies to reversibly manipulate the host microbiome to attain desired functions (e.g., synthesis of brown adipose tissue to combat hypothermia; mitigate effects of circadian rhythm or sleep disruption)
  • Support the development of novel tools for real-time analysis of microbiomes and microbial products in the host or surrounding environment to improve mapping of “microbial biogeography”
  • Explore approaches for engineering gut microbes or microbial communities to specifically sense, respond and alter conditions in the intestinal environment

Program Contact Information

Name: Dr. Kristy Hentchel

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 342

Email for Questions:

How to Submit

For detailed application and submission information for this research topic, please see our Funding Opportunities page and refer to broad agency announcement (BAA) No. N00014-21-S-B001.

  • Contracts: All white papers and full proposals for contracts must be submitted through FedConnect; instructions are included in the BAA.
  • Grants: All white papers for grants must be submitted through FedConnect, and full proposals for grants must be submitted through; instructions are included in the BAA.

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