AN INSIDE LOOK
Suchodolski‘s research works to expand this knowledge, including by looking at the effects of nutrition and treatments like antibiotics on this unique system.
“We understand the gut microbiota as a missing link; as we discover more and more about the microbiome, we’ve recognized it as part of our physiology,” Suchodolski said. “We have learned over the last few years that we have to see the host and microbiome as one unit. For example, there are some pathways that only microbiota take, and those benefit us. So, you cannot really see the microbiome as an external thing. It's a part of the whole physiology.
“Ultimately, feeding and properly maintaining our gut microbiota is crucial; studies have shown that a lot of chronic diseases that we have examined are probably due to not taking care of our microbiota, meaning we don't have the proper nutrition, we don't have enough fiber, usually, in our diets,” he said. “The benefits of antibiotics in saving us from infectious diseases are huge, but we also realize that the side effect of antibiotics is diminishing the microbiota. So, we need to be aware of the importance of gut bacteria.”
DEVELOPING A SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CVM
With so many cutting-edge projects, it seems that Suchodolski was born to do research; however, that wasn’t always his plan.
“I always wanted to be a veterinarian,” he said. “My career as a researcher was kind of a coincidence, but I simply love it. Every day there are new opportunities, new ideas, new exposures.”
Suchodolski came to Texas from Austria as a veterinary graduate to complete a short-term credit program; he had planned to return to Austria after his two years in Texas, but then he was offered the opportunity to complete a Ph.D.
He had begun studying abnormal bacterial populations in canine small intestines, but during his first year of his Ph.D. program, a paper looking at a new, molecular method for studying the microbiome was published; this discovery, had a significant impact on the field, and wanting to be a part of something new and exciting, he made the switch.