Migration and the Microbiome

In recent years, the gut microbiome has been recognized as an important and a central player in regulating healthy growth and combatting disease. Research has also shown that the gut microbiome is adversely affected by exposure to hazardous environment, stress, poor diet and over the counter use of antimicrobial drugs, leading to lifelong health challenges. Unfortunately most, and in some cases all, of these factors are part of the lived experience of the forcibly displaced. Despite the importance of the gut microbiome, historically few studies have focused on understanding the gut microbiome of the refugees and forced migrants. As a consequence it is unclear how policies and practices aimed to improve health outcomes of refugees and forcibly displaced (e.g. specific prescription patterns and dietary recommendations)  actually impact the gut microbiome and the long-term health. This project, in partnership with public health practitioners on the ground in refugee camps and informal settlements aims to develop new knowledge about the gut microbiome that can bring relevant evidence to local and global public health practitioners. We are using computational modeling, in vitro miniaturization of the gut and systematic exposure to environmental contaminants and antibiotics to understand the microbiome of mothers and children in urban informal settlements and refugee camps. Our long term goal is to develop a rigorous, quantitative and detailed map of the gut microbiome in refugee settlements, analyze current practices and their efficacy, and identify specific policies that can improve short and long-term health of the forcibly displaced. 

News and Publications: 

  • Forthcoming book: Muhammad H. Zaman. Weaponizing Infection. (Under contract, The New Press).
    Recently published book: Sandro Galea, Muhammad H. Zaman and Catherine Ettman, Ed. Migration and Health. University of Chicago Press. 2022. (https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/M/bo181540563.html)
  • Peer-review article: Carrie J. Preston, “The Humanities of Migration and Health,” in Migration and Health, eds. Sandro Galea, Catherine Ettman, and Muhammad Zaman (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, forthcoming 2022).https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/M/bo181540563.html
  • Peer-review article: Indorica Sutradhar and Muhammad H. Zaman. One Health approaches to improve refugee health. Lancet Global Health. December 2021. The Lancet. Global Health9, no. 12 (2021): e1646-e1647. https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/langlo/PIIS2214-109X(21)00416-2.pdf
  • Peer-review article: Mohammad Ahsan Fuzail, Bilal Ahmed, Daniel L. Burke, Amanda Hylland Spjeldnæs, Masako Horino, Carly Ching, and Muhammad Hamid Zaman. “Microbiome research potential for developing holistic approaches to improve refugee health.”Journal of Global Health Reports 5 (2021): e2021094. https://www.joghr.org/article/28997
  • Peer-review article: Samuel Ebiowei Fanifini Orubu, Najwa Al-Dheeb, Carly Ching, Sema Bu Jawdeh, Jessica Anderson, Rashad Sheikh, Fadhel Hariri, Huda Basaleem, Muhammad H. Zaman. Assessing antimicrobial resistance, utilization and stewardship in Yemen: An exploratory mixed-methods study. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2021. https://www.ajtmh.org/view/journals/tpmd/105/5/article-p1404.xml
  • Op-Ed: Zaman, Muhammad Hamid, and Louis Stouch. “Engineering Better Refugee Health Care: By Muhammad Hamid Zaman.” Project Syndicate, December 5, 2017. https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/biomedical-engineering-refugee-crisis-by-muhammad-hamid-zaman-2017-08.