Electrical & Computer Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Wang et al., 2016, Cell Reports 14, 945–955 February 2, 2016

Copyright 2016 The Authors


Cell Reports 14, 945–955, February 2, 2016 ª2016 The Authors


The relationship between the host and its microbiota is challenging to understand because both microbial communities and their environments are highly variable. We have developed a set of techniques based on population dynamics and information theory to address this challenge. These methods identify additional bacterial taxa associated with pediatric Crohn disease and can detect significant changes in microbial communities with fewer samples than previous statistical approaches required. We have also substantially improved the accuracy of the diagnosis based on the microbiota from stool samples, and we found that the ecological niche of a microbe predicts its role in Crohn disease. Bacteria typically residing in the lumen of healthy individuals decrease in disease, whereas bacteria typically residing on the mucosa of healthy individuals increase in disease. Our results also show that the associations with Crohn disease are evolutionarily conserved and provide a mutual information-based method to depict dysbiosis.