Genetics and Genomics

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Section on Genetics and Genomics

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Publication Spotlight

Lung Microbiota of Critically Ill Patients with COVID-19 Are Associated with Nonresolving Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Authors: Robert F. J. Kullberg, Justin de Brabander, Leonoor S. Boers, Jason J. Biemond, Esther J. Nossent, Leo M. A. Heunks, Alexander P. J. Vlaar, Peter I. Bonta, Tom van der Poll, JanWillem Duitman, Lieuwe D. J. Bos, and W. Joost Wiersinga; on behalf of the ArtDECO Consortium and the Amsterdam UMC COVID-19 Biobank Study Group 

Description: The majority of patients with COVID-19 admitted to the ICU fulfill the criteria for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This study aims to determine whether dysbiosis of the lung microbiome may contribute to nonresolving ARDS and increased mortality in such patients. In 114 mechanically ventilated patients with COVID-19 and ARDS, lung microbiota were profiled using 16S rRNA gene sequencing and quantitative PCR targeting the 16S and 18S rRNA genes. It was observed that patients with increased lung bacterial and fungal burden were less likely to be extubated (subdistribution hazard ratio, 0.64 [95% confidence interval, 0.42-0.97]; P = 0.034 and 0.59 [95% confidence interval, 0.42-0.83]; P = 0.0027 per log10 increase in bacterial and fungal burden, respectively) and had higher mortality (bacterial burden, P = 0.012; fungal burden, P = 0.0498). The bacterial and fungal burden in BAL fluid were correlated with alveolar proinflammatory cytokines such as TNF-a and IL-1b, and lung microbiota community composition was associated with successful extubation. These findings confirm the importance of the lung microbiome in ARDS and COVID-19 and highlight the significance of the—often overlooked—pulmonary fungal burden in critically ill patients

Ivana Yang

Section Chair
Ivana Yang, BS, PhD


Chair: Ivana Yang, BS, PhD
Co-Chair: Rachel Kelly, MPH, PhD

Welcome to the ATS Section on Genetics and Genomics website! Our Section welcomes all members of the ATS, regardless of Assembly affiliation, who are interested in genetics, genomics, and other “omics” technologies (proteomics, metabolomics, metagenomics, etc.) as they relate to the many diseases encompassing the fields of respiratory, critical care, and sleep medicine. Our Section has grown to over 1,000 members making us one of the largest society-based interest groups for genetic and genomic investigators focused on respiratory, critical care, and sleep medicine research. The Section on Genetics and Genomics resides within Allergy, Inflammation, and Immunology, but our current members belong to numerous ATS assemblies reflecting the diverse application of omics approaches across our membership.

Genetics and genomics are at the forefront of scientific research and medical practice into the 21st century, and the number of investigators focusing on these technologies is rapidly expanding. Although the diseases encompassed by the ATS are diverse, omics-based approaches have common, overlapping themes that are beneficial to informing research and the application of cutting-edge technologies. As outlined in our mission statement, we aim to facilitate the exchange of ideas across omics researchers while increasing the knowledge and appreciation of genomics research across the broader ATS community. Section members have impacted the exchange of ideas in ATS through the programming of scientific events including quarterly journal clubs and webinars, workshops, scientific symposia, and the annual curation of over 200 abstracts submitted for the international conference. In addition, members have led and contributed to published research statements and workshops though the ATS, ERS, and NHLBI on lung precision medicine research, high-throughput sequencing, respiratory disease-related healthcare disparities, and the management of severe asthma resulting in national and international impact.

We encourage all clinicians, scientists, post-doctoral fellows, and trainees interested in genetics and genomics research to learn more about our Section. We hope to increase the understanding of omics technologies and their applications to enhance the ability of our scientific community to address impactful research questions which could lead to precision approaches for patient care.

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