The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary federal government agency for biomedical research in the USA. NIH provides extensive support for human microbiome research with 21 of 27 NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) currently funding this area through their extramural research programs. This analysis of the NIH extramural portfolio in human microbiome research briefly reviews the early history of this field at NIH, summarizes the program objectives and the resources developed in the recently completed 10-year (fiscal years 2007-2016) $215 M Human Microbiome Project (HMP) program, evaluates the scope and range of the $728 M NIH investment in extramural human microbiome research activities outside of the HMP over fiscal years 2012-2016, and highlights some specific areas of research which emerged from this investment. This analysis closes with a few comments on the technical needs and knowledge gaps which remain for this field to be able to advance over the next decade and for the outcomes of this research to be able to progress to microbiome-based interventions for treating disease and supporting health.
Keywords: Animal models; Fast Track Action Committee on Mapping the Microbiome (FTAC-MM); Human Microbiome Project (HMP); Human disease; Metagenomics; Microbiome; Microbiota; NIH funding; National Microbiome Initiative (NMI).