Deborah Cook – 2017 Killam Research Fellow

Modifying the Microbiome in Critical Illness: The Potential of Probiotics

McMaster University

Little is known about how human microbiota (the trillions of organisms living in us or on us) are influenced by critical illness.  Probiotics are ‘micro-organisms which when ingested confer health benefits to the host’. Dr. Cook’s Killam Research Fellowship will allow her to focus on the first large clinical trial testing whether probiotics favourably influence microbiota of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, and decrease the chance of developing new infections during critical illness. Probiotics are a low-risk, low-cost, readily available strategy that may help to reduce infections in the intensive care unit – which remain common and often lethal complications of critical illness today.


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