Alex Kostic

Alex Kostic

Assistant Professor
Harvard Medical School

My background and training is in computational biology, microbiology, and immunology. During my PhD thesis work with Matthew Meyerson and Wendy Garrett, we discovered an association between colorectal cancer and the gut microbiome constituent Fusobacterium nucleatum. We demonstrated that Fusobacterium accelerated intestinal tumorigenesis by a mechanism involving altered immune cell recruitment to the tumor, which we established after developing a mouse model with a humanized microbiome. As a postdoctoral fellow at Broad Institute working with Ramnik Xavier and Curtis Huttenhower, I worked to characterize the developing infant gut microbiome in dense, longitudinal metagenomic analyses of birth cohorts at risk for type 1 diabetes. We discovered a novel mechanism by which the human microbiome directly influences immune development and progression to type 1 diabetes. In my new lab, we focus on simplified microbial communities in gnotobiotic mice to discover basic lines of microbiome-host communication necessary for homeostasis and that underlie autoimmune disease.