Lisa Tussing-Humphreys is member of research team awarded $3 million grant to study link between gut microbiome, pain in kidney transplant patients

Lisa Tussing-Humphreys

Lisa Tussing-Humphreys, KN associate professor, is among an interdisciplinary team of seven researchers who received a $3 million, five-year National Institutes of Health grant to study the relationship between the gut microbiome and symptoms that impact quality of life for nearly half of kidney transplant recipients.

The research builds off a pilot study that pointed to an association between changes in the gut microbiome and symptoms like pain, fatigue, trouble sleeping, depression and anxiety.

The researchers believe the gut microbiome could change after a kidney transplant due to dietary changes, immunosuppressive medications or stress related to the responsibility of taking care of a new kidney.

The study will enroll 120 living donor recipients, who will submit samples to assess their gut microbiome before surgery and monthly for six months after surgery. Participants will complete surveys to determine the severity of symptoms, level of stress and how their kidney disease impacts their quality of life. Researchers will do a detailed dietary assessment before surgery and at three and six months after surgery.

Principal investigator is Mark Lockwood, associate professor of nursing. Other researchers are Ardith Doorenbos and Chang Park, nursing, Mario Spaggiari and Beatriz Peñalver Bernabé, medicine, and Stefan Green, Rush University.

This article has been edited for length and clarity by Sonya Booth.