Sara Vieira-Silva

Sara Vieira-Silva



Sara Vieira-Silva
University Medical Center, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene
Gebäude 905
Obere Zahlbacher Strasse 67
55101 Mainz

Short biography

Sara Vieira-Silva is an Associate Professor at the IMMH, University Medical Center, JGU Mainz and Adjunct Director at the Institute of Molecular Biology, Mainz.

Initially trained in biology (University of Lisbon, Portugal) and computational biology (PDBC, IGC, Portugal), she conducted a PhD thesis in microbial evolutionary genomics (UPMC), supervised by Eduardo Rocha at Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.

As a postdoctoral scientist (VIB / KU Leuven), she specialized in studying microbial metabolism specific to the human gut environment and its clinical impact on the human host; embracing and developing state-of-the art computational approaches to study these microbial communities.


Our lab explores the ecology of host-associated microbial communities and their role in health and disease. Our research focuses on understanding the ecological dynamics of human gut-associated microbial communities in healthy host-microbiome homeostasis and how their disturbance contributes to the risk of disease onset or progression. We apply quantitative approaches to population cohort studies and intervention trials to identify the mechanisms that drive the dynamics of the gut ecosystem in health, the determinants of its resilience to perturbations and the alterations that contribute to disease (dysbiosis). We base our research on dataset generated by hypothesis-driven experimental design, and invest in the continuous development of bioinformatic tools to extract interpretable traits from metagenomic data as well as computational approaches to quantify ecological dynamics and host-microbiome interactions.

In close collaboration with clinical experts or whithin large multidisciplinary research efforts, we are engaged in dissecting the contribution of microbiomes to pathophysiology, with the aim of refining personalized therapeutic approaches for inflammatory, metabolic and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Selected projects
- RMU Research Cluster EMTHERA, Emerging strategies against infections, inflammation and impaired immune mechanisms.
- BMBF Cluster of Excellence CurATime, Artificial intellingence approach for precision medicine in atherothrombosis.
- EXCELLENCE OF SCIENCE (EOS) MiQuant, Quantitative profiling in applied gut microbiome research.
- EU-funded research project MetaCardis, Role of the gut microbiome in cardiometabolic diseases.

Recent awards

- Outstanding Women Academics, AcademiaNet view
- Highly Cited Researchers, Clarivate Analytics view
- Triennial award for biomedical research 2019-2021, Antoine Faes Foundation view
- Best clinical article award 2017, Belgian society of Internal Medicine view

Selected publications

Valles-Colomer M*, Bacigalupe R*, Vieira-Silva S*, Suzuki S, Darzi Y, Tito RY, Yamada T, Segata N, Raes J, Falony G. (2022) Variation and transmission of the human gut microbiota across multiple familial generations. Nat Microbiol. 7(1): 87-96. view

Vieira-Silva S*, Falony G*, Belda E*, (...), Clément K & Raes J. (2020) Statin therapy is associated with lower prevalence of gut microbiota dysbiosis. Nature 581:310-315. view

Vieira-Silva S*, Sabino J*, Valles-Colomer M*, Falony G*, (...), Vermeire S & Raes J. (2019) Quantitative microbiome profiling disentangles inflammation- and bile duct obstruction-associated microbiota alterations across IBD/PSC diagnoses. Nat. Microbiol. 4(11), 1826-1831. view

Valles-Colomer M, Falony G, (...), Vieira-Silva S* & Raes J*. (2019) The neuroactive potential of the human gut microbiota in quality of life and depression. Nat. Microbiol. 4, 623–632 view

Vandeputte D*, Kathagen G*, D’hoe K*, Vieira-Silva S*, Valles-Colomer M, (...), Vermeire S, Falony G* & Raes J*. (2017) Quantitative microbiome profiling links gut community variation to microbial load. Nature 551, 507–511 view

Vieira-Silva S*, Falony G*, Darzi Y, et al. (2016) Species-function relationships shape ecological properties of the human gut microbiome. Nat. Microbiol. 1, 16088 view

Falony G*, Joossens M*, Vieira-Silva S*, Wang J*, Darzi Y, et al. (2016) Population-level analysis of gut microbiome variation. Science 352, 560–4 view

Full publication list: ORCID profile