Dear Colleague,

Collectively, the gut's flora has a metabolic activity equivalent to an organ, leading some to suggest that resident bacterial flora is "the neglected organ". In fact, the human digestive tract contains nearly 100 times more single-celled organisms than the sum total of all human cells in the body. As bacteria have existed long before humans, it is safe to assume that humans have evolved in this "contaminated" environment and the evolution was in ways mutualistic and symbiotic. The intestine plays host to a broadly diversified bacterial community that is separated from the internal milieu by only a single layer of epithelial cells. Recent data have highlighted the importance of this usually commensal community in human health. In particular, data suggest that the microbiota play an important role in the development and perpetuation of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), obesity, celiac disease, and-potentially-in fatty liver disease, among many other conditions.

It is increasingly clear that influencing the gut microbiome has
the potential to revolutionize the management of not only infectious disease states, but a broad range of other conditions in which
the microbiome plays a critical role.

Moving toward rational modulation of the gut microbiome will be challenging, as the microbiota in the gut exist within complex networks that can be different depending on diet, location within the gastrointestinal tract, and even by time of day. For this reason, the Gut Microbiome Conference was conceived in 2013 as a mechanism for bringing together scientists, physicians, and other health care providers with a direct research and/or treatment interest in modulating the gut microbiome to improve human health. With extensive information being presented at this meeting on new treatment options, evolving data on existing treatment and diagnostic modalities, and critical information on improving patient outcomes, it is critical that health care providers who typically are unable to attend the large international conferences are informed of the most important advances.

The 2015 Conference is being held September 25-27, 2015 at Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach, California. This 1.5-day educational conference is designed to meet the educational needs of health care professionals who treat and manage patients with gastrointestinal conditions with an interest in modulating the gastrointestinal microbiome for therapeutic effect.

The 2015 Gut Microbiome Conference will be chaired by Dr. Ian Carroll, Dr. Dermot McGovern, and Dr. Mark Pimentel, who will serve as course directors. The meeting itself will be divided into segments that focus on the roles of the microbiota in human health and disease. Topics currently planned to be covered include the role of the microbiota in IBS, IBD, obesity, celiac disease, and in fatty liver disease. Faculty for the meeting will consist of global experts, as well as experts from the southern California region. The format of the meeting will consist of plenary lectures, case-based parallel meetings, and panel discussions. Ample time will be provided for direct interaction both at the formal meetings and after each presentation.

Ian Carroll, PhD

UNC Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC

DERMOT MCGOVERN, MD,
PhD, MRCP (UK)

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA

Mark Pimentel, MD,
FRCPC

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA