Community Profile: Dr. Amee Manges

Dr. Amee Manges is one of the recipients of the 2015-2016 TRF Venture Grants.

What do you do?
I am an Associate Professor at the UBC School of Population and Public Health and Director of the UBC Master of Public Health Program. I am a molecular epidemiologist and supervise a research laboratory housed at British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). Our research group focuses on questions related to infectious disease epidemiology and public health, specifically we are interested in how the human gut microbiota (community of microorganisms that inhabits the gut) can protect the host from bacterial infections and other illnesses.

Why do you work in transplantation?
Despite the overwhelming benefits of solid organ transplantation there are some health risks. One major risk is the increased likelihood that organ transplant patients (especially kidney transplant patients) will develop an antimicrobial resistant infection in the urinary tract or bloodstream following surgery; often the bacteria that cause these infections come from patient’s own intestinal tract. In some cases, these infections can be highly resistant to therapy and may complicate clinical care following transplantation. Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is an innovative therapy that involves the infusion of healthy donor stool into the gut of patients’ at-risk of antimicrobial resistant infection. FMT will replace a microbiota harboring lots of drug-resistant bacteria with a microbiota containing minimal drug-resistant bacteria. We are excited by the possibility that FMT could help prevent difficult to treat post-transplant infections and may lead to better health outcomes. Perhaps pairing gut microbiota transplantation with kidney organ transplantation will minimize the long term risk of hard-totreat infections in some patients.

Where do you think transplant research is heading over the next decade?
Over the next decade there will be a tremendous amount of innovative research in solid organ transplantation research including advances in xenotransplantation, genetic engineering and 3D bio printing, as well as refined approaches to organ donor pool expansion. Our research group hopes to contribute by working to reduce post-transplantation infectious complications. FMT may be one solution to significantly improve both clinical
outcomes and quality of life for transplant patients.

For more information on Dr. Manges’ lab: