Like us, our dogs get their first microbes from their mothers, and as a result, each dog has a unique combination of bacteria and other microorganisms living in their digestive systems. Collectively these microbes are referred to as the gut microbiome, which aids in digestion, extracting nutrients and calories from food, as well as helping the immune and nervous systems function. Some gut microbiomes are more efficient at extracting calories from food, making some individuals more prone to obesity, while other microbiomes may be better suited to metabolizing proteins or fats. The microbiome can be shaped by diet, giving us an opportunity to use insights from research on nutrition and the microbiome to improve health and wellness. And because every individual has a unique microbiome, diets will likely need to be tailored to each individual based on understanding their microbiome fingerprint.
Holly H. Ganz PhD, CEO and founder of AnimalBiome, is a microbial ecologist who has published more than 20 papers. She left academia to become an entrepreneur when she founded AnimalBiome in the fall of 2016 based on research which she began at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. AnimalBiome provides assessments of the bacterial composition of the digestive tract of dogs and cats and supplements to restore balance to the gut microbiome. Her efforts to translate academic research into solutions for animal lovers began when she launched KittyBiome, a citizen science project, while working at UC Davis in 2015. From the KittyBiome project, she found that imbalances in the gut microbiome are common in pets and that there is a pressing need for better approaches to maintain gut health and prevent the development chronic health conditions.
Holly received her PhD from UC Davis, where she studied co-evolution between microbes and animals. After receiving her doctorate, she was awarded an international postdoctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation to study how genetics affects the spread of fungal infections in animal populations in Switzerland. Subsequently she was a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley studying how bacterial pathogens survive in soil to infect African wildlife. She also holds a MS from UC San Diego, where she studied population genetics, and a BS from George Washington University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, received Special Honors in the Biological Sciences, and graduated magna cum laude.
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