Aleksandar D. KOSTIC
Assistant Professor, Joslin Diabetes Center and Harvard Medical School, USA

Dr. Kostic is an Assistant Investigator at Joslin Diabetes Center and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School. His research combines computational and experimental expertise to probe the relationship between the human microbiome and diseases including type 1 diabetes and colorectal cancer. The Kostic laboratory strives to generate a high-level understanding of how the molecular interactions between the immune system and the intestinal microbiome regulate human health. His background and training spans computational biology, microbiology, and immunology, which has led him to find novel associations and mechanisms linking metagenomics, immunity, and human disease. During his PhD thesis work with Drs. Matthew Meyerson and Wendy Garrett at the Broad Institute, he discovered an association between colorectal cancer and the gut microbiome constituent Fusobacterium nucleatum. Fusobacterium accelerated intestinal tumorigenesis by a mechanism involving altered immune cell recruitment to the tumor, which he established after developing a mouse model with a humanized microbiome. As a postdoctoral fellow with Drs. Ramnik Xavier and Curtis Huttenhower at the Broad Institute, he worked to characterize the developing infant gut microbiome in dense, longitudinal metagenomic analyses of birth cohorts at risk for type 1 diabetes. In his latest publication, I provide the first evidence and mechanism by which the human microbiome directly influences immune development and progression to type 1 diabetes. My ultimate research goal is to develop new methods to diagnose and treat type 1 diabetes by deepening our understanding of the immunomodulatory effects of the diverse constituents of the symbiotic microbiota and their impact on autoimmunity.