What We Do

The CfS for ME/CFS is designed to rapidly adapt to the insights and opportunities that are continuously emerging in the field of ME/CFS research. Accordingly, we are a center without walls—we recruit new investigators nationally and internationally based on their commitment and expertise rather than their institutional affiliation.

Our current lead clinical researchers include Anthony Komaroff (Harvard), Sue Levine (private practice, New York City), Kegan Moneghetti (Stanford), Lucinda Bateman (Bateman Horne Center), and Dan Peterson (Sierra Internal Medicine). Our current leading laboratory-based researchers include W. Ian Lipkin (pathogen discovery, Columbia), Oliver Fiehn (metabolomics, UC Davis), and John Greally (gene expression, Albert Einstein College of Medicine). We recently initiated work with Benjamin Garcia (proteomics, University of Pennsylvania) with support from Solve ME/CFS. We also have an epidemiology core led by Dana March Palmer (Columbia).

Our funding during the first two years of the Collaborative Center Program will be used to mine the rich data and sample sets established with the support of the NIH, the Hutchins Family Foundation, and the Microbe Discovery Project. We will use state-of-the-art sequencing methods to search for molecular footprints of potential bacterial, fungal, and viral triggers of disease. This work is inspired by discoveries in our laboratory and others pointing to the importance of the microbiome, the virome, and the fungome as determinants of health. We will look for immune responses that may persist long after an infectious agent has either been cleared from the body or become dormant, and for autoantibodies. We will also profile metabolites in plasma and gene expression in white blood cells.

Clinical research studies will connect with the laboratory studies. We will examine the impact of physical activity on the microbiome, the metabolome, and the transcriptome for clues to understanding the basis of persistent fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, and other symptoms after exercise. We will design a mobile app and mine existing datasets for insights into clinical features, comorbidities, and sub-types that could refine laboratory analyses and enhance care.

We are hoping to find additional resources for epigenetic studies that could explain how genes are turned on or off in response to exercise. Clinical trials are not part of our current mandate. However, we are aware of the urgency and need for progress in clinical care. Each of our projects has been prioritized for its potential to lead to solutions for ME/CFS through the development of animal models of ME/CFS or clinical trials of antibiotics, pre- and probiotics, antifungals, antivirals, or immunomodulatory treatments.

Click the buttons below to read more information about each of the three main projects supported by the NIH award.