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Faculty Detail    
Name CASEY D MORROW
 
Campus Address MCLM 680 Zip 0005
Phone 205-934-5705
E-mail caseym@uab.edu
Other websites
     


Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Primary  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology  Cell, Developmntl, & Integrative Biology Professor
Secondary  Medicine  Med - Div of Human Gene Therapy Professor
Secondary  Microbiology  Microbiology Professor
Center  Arthritis & Musculoskeletal Diseases Center  Arthritis & Musculoskeletal Diseases Center Professor
Center  Center for AIDS Research  Center for AIDS Research Professor
Center  Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering  Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering Professor
Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center Professor
Center  Cystic Fibrosis Research Center  Cystic Fibrosis Research Center Professor
Center  Medicine  Gene Therapy Center Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Cellular and Molecular Biology Program 
Medical Scientist Training Program 
Microbiology 

Biographical Sketch 
Received his Ph.D. in 1982 from UCLA Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the field of Immunology. Dr. Morrow completed his undergraduate studies in biology and chemistry at the University of California, Irvine (B.A. in Biology, B.S. in Chemistry, 1978). His graduate work in immunology was carried out at UCLA (Ph.D., 1982). His post-doctoral work at UCLA focused on the mechanism of poliovirus replication. His laboratory has focused on HIV for the last 20 years and has recently moved to studies on the Microbiome.

Research/Clinical Interest
Title
Role of the Microbiome in Health and Disease
Description
In the last few years, I have embarked on a new research direction that is more translational in nature - the role of the human microbiome in homeostasis and human health. The human body is inhabited by a vast number of bacteria, referred to as the microbiota, microflora, or normal flora. The microbiota colonizes virtually every surface of the human body that is exposed to the external environment. By far the most heavily colonized organ is the gastrointestinal tract; the colon alone is estimated to contain over 70% of all the microbes in the human body. We are just beginning to understand the roles of that these microbes have in the productions of nutrients that are essential for health.

The composition and roles of the bacteria on humans has been intensely studied in the past few years. It is estimated that the humans contains as many as 1014 bacterial cells, a number that is 10 times greater than the number of human cells present in our bodies. The development of new technologies to characterize the vast numbers of microbiota is collectively referred to as a “microbiome analysis”. As the Director of the UAB Microbiome Resource, I have established the requisite core group of scientists at UAB for complete microbiome analysis that includes the acquisition and processing of fecal samples for DNA, NextGen sequencing and bioinformatics. The resource helps numerous UAB investigators in their efforts to understand the impact of the microbiome in research areas including adult and pediatric obesity, gastroenterology, nutrition, host physiology, energy metabolism and microbial ecology.

My own research interests are focused on the impact that microbiome imbalance (dysbiosis) has on a wide array of disease states. In our current work, we collaborate with Dr. Martin Rodriguez to characterize the microbiome in patients that have undergone fecal transplants for treatment of C. difficile infections, with the long-term goal to understand the dynamics of gut microbiome constitution following transplant. For these studies we also work with Dr. Casey Weaver, who directs the gnotobiotic mouse facility at UAB, to model aspects of the human transplants in mice.

A second area of research focuses on role that the microbiome plays on the development of cancer, the impact of chemotherapy on the microbiome and how the manipulation of the microbiome can improve the outcome of treatment. For these studies, we collaborate with researchers interested in stomach, brain, colorectal, pancreatic and breast cancer.

Finally, we have ongoing collaborations with members of the Division of Infectious Disease on studies on the impact of sexually transmitted diseases on the vaginal and urethral microbiomes and how HIV infection and anti-retroviral drugs impact the gut microbiome.

Ultimately, we intend to use the information obtained in our research efforts to develop a personalized medicine approach for the management of the human microbiome in health and disease.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
Kumar, R., C. Maynard, P. Eipers, K.T. Goldsmith, T. Ptacek, A. Grubbs, P. Dixon, D. Howard, D.K. Crossman, M. Crowley, W. Benjamin, E.J. Lefkowitz, C.T. Weaver, J.M. Rodriguez and C.D. Morrow. 2014. Microbiome Restoration Dynamics Revealed Using Colonization of Gnotobiotic MIce With Microbiota Obtained From Patients After Fecal Transplant for Recurrent C. difficile Infection. In Preparation   
Stoll, M.L., R. Kumar, C.D. Morrow, E.J. Lefkowitz, X. Cui, A. Genin, R.Q. Cron and, C.O. Elson. 2014. Dysbiosis Triggering Abnormal Humoral Immune Responses to Commensal Organisms in Juvenile Spondyloarthritis. Submitted.   
Brawner, K.M., C.D. Morrow and P. D. Smith. 2014. Gastric Microbiome and Gastric Cancer. The Cancer Journal: The Journal of Principles & Practice of Oncology . 20: 211.  24855010 
Kumar, R., P. Eipers, R.B. Little, M. Crowley, D.K. Crossman, E.J. Lefkowitz and C.D. Morrow. 2014. Getting Started with Microbiome Analysis: Sample Acquisition to Bioinformatics. Current Protocols in Human Genetics. In Press.   

Keywords
Microbiome Management, Dysbiosis, NextGen DNA sequencing, Bioinformatics, Fecal Transplants, Cancer Metabolism, Drug/Antibiotic Impact On the Microbiome