Alberta BLOOM study: Begin a life of health with observation and optimization of the microbiome

Marie Claire Arrieta, PhD and Laura Sycuro, PhD

The microbiome is inherited largely from our mother at birth and in our first years of life, forming an integral part of our unique physiological identity.

Recent studies have found that changes in the microbiome very early in life can herald the onset of disease years later, but more research is needed. New data also suggests the maternal microbiome could have significant effect on a child’s health. Understanding how the maternal and early life microbiome interacts with our human genetic background and environment is one of the greatest frontiers in modern medicine.

The BLOOM study looks at the microbiomes of 1,000 babies born in Alberta. We'll examine how the microbiome changes from the womb, through birth, and through the use of antibiotics in the first five years of life.

This study aims to trace the microbial links between mothers and their neonates in pregnancy, birth, and up to one year postpartum. The broad goals of the study: Molecular surveys of the microbiome and host to identify biomarkers, along with their mechanistic underpinnings. This will provide diagnostic value or predictive information of long-term health outcomes.