Matthew C. Hibberd, PhD

Matthew C. Hibberd, PhD

Assistant Professor, Pathology & Immunology


  • Laboratory & Genomic Medicine


  • BS: Biochemistry, University of Nebraska – Lincoln (Lincoln, NE)
  • PhD: Biology and Biomedical Sciences (Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis), Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)

Professional Memberships

  • American Society for Microbiology

Research Related Links

Research Interests

The microbial communities associated with our body are important determinants of our health, particularly in the intestines where they help to shape our interactions with our diet. The Gordon Lab is focused on the role of the gut microbiota in defining healthy growth of infants and children and in the pathogenesis of malnutrition, the leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age worldwide. Our preclinical work with gnotobiotic animals and observational clinical work has established a link between the age-appropriate developmental trajectory of the microbiota and aspects of malnutrition – from this concept we have developed microbiota-directed complementary food (MDCF) formulations intended to repair the microbial communities of children with moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). We have tested prototypes of these formulations at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), in a 3-month randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 12-18-month-old Bangladeshi children with MAM. This work demonstrated clinical proof-of-concept (POC) that a lead MDCF formulation (‘MDCF-2’) produced a significant improvement in the rate of weight gain compared to a commonly administered ready-to-use supplementary food (RUSF) that was not designed to repair the gut microbiota.

Our current efforts are focused on follow up mechanistic studies of the microbiota and host physiology in the context of MDCF-2 treatment and improved weight gain, along with building additional clinical evidence of efficacy in Bangladesh and additional geographies. Of particular interest are ‘omics studies intended to identify the bioactive components of the MDCFs and which bacterial strains contribute to their efficacy.

Selected Publications

Hibberd, M. C., Wu, M., Rodionov D. A., Li, X., Cheng, J., Griffin, N. W., Barratt, M. J., Giannone, R. J., Hettich, R. L., Osterman, A. L., and J. I. Gordon. “The effects of micronutrient deficiencies on bacterial species from the human gut microbiota.” Sci Transl Med 9, eaal4069 (2017).
Schriefer, A., Cliften, P., Hibberd, M. C., Sawyer, C., Brown-Kennerly, V., Burcea, L., Klotz, E., Crosby, S., Gordon, J. I., and R. D. Head. “A multi-amplicon 16S rRNA sequencing and analysis method for improved taxonomic profiling of bacterial communities.” J Microbiol Methods 154, pp. 6-13 (2018).
Cowardin, C. A., Ahern, P. A., Kung, V. L., Hibberd, M. C., Cheng, J., Guruge, J. L., Sundaresan, V., Head, R. D., Barile, D., Mills, D. A., Barratt, M. J., Huq, S., Ahmed, T., and J. I. Gordon. “Mechanisms by which sialylated milk oligosaccharides impact bone biology in a gnotobiotic mouse model of infant undernutrition.” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 116, (24) pp. 11988-11996 (2019).
Gehrig*, J. L., Venkatesh*, S., Chang*, H.-W., Hibberd, M. C., Kung, V. L., Cheng, J. Chen, R. Y., Subramanian, S., Cowardin, C. A., Meier, M. F., O’Donnell, D., Talcott, M., Spears, L. D., Semenkovich, C. F., Henrissat, B., Giannone, R. J., Hettich, R. L., Ilkayeva, O., Muehlbauer, M., Newgard, C. B., Sawyer, C., Head, R. D., Rodionov, D. A., Arzamasov, A. A., Leyn, S. A., Osterman, A. L., Hossain, M. I., Islam, M., Choudhury, N., Sarker, S. A., Huq, S., Mahmud, I., Mostafa, I., Mahfuz, M., Barratt, M. J., Ahmed, T., and J. I. Gordon. “Effects of microbiota-directed foods in gnotobiotic animals and undernourished children.” Science 365 (6449), eaau4732 (2019).
Raman, A. S., Gehrig, J. L., Venkatesh, S., Chang, H.-W., Hibberd, M. C., Subramanian, S., Kang, G., Bessong, P. O., Lima, A. A. M., Kosek, M. N., Petri, W. A., Rodionov, D. A., Arzamasov, A. A., Leyn, S. A., Osterman, A. L., Huq, S., Mostafa, I., Islam, M., Mahfuz, M., Haque, R., Ahmed, T., Barratt, M. J., and J. I. Gordon. “A sparse covarying unit that describes healthy and impaired human gut microbiota development.” Science 365 (6449), eaau4735 (2019).
Wolf, A. R., Wesener, D. A., Cheng, J., Houston-Ludlam, A. N., Beller, Z. W., Hibberd, M. C., Giannone, R. J., Peters, S. L., Hettich, R. L., Leyn, S. A., Rodionov, D. A., Osterman, A. L., and J. I. Gordon. “Bioremediation of a common product of food processing by a human gut bacterium.” Cell Host Microbe 26 (4), pp. 463-477(2019).
Halatchev., I. G., O’Donnell, D., Hibberd, M. C., and J. I. Gordon. “Applying indirect open-circuit calorimetry to study energy expenditure in gnotobiotic mice harboring different human gut microbial communities.” Microbiome 7 (1),158 (2019).
Feng, L., Raman, A. S., Hibberd, M. C., Cheng, J., Griffin, N. W., Peng, Y., Leyn, S., Rodionov, D. A., Osterman, A. L. and J. I. Gordon. “Identifying determinants of bacterial fitness in a model of human gut microbial succession.” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 117 (5) pp. 2622-2633 (2020).
Chen*, R. Y., Kung*, V. L., Das, S., Hossain, M. S., Hibberd, M. C., Guruge, J., Mahfuz, M., Begum, S. M. K. N., Rahman, M. M., Fahim, S. M., Gazi, A., Haque, R., Sarker, S. A., Mazumder, R. N., Di Luccia, B., Ahsan, K., Kennedy, E., Santiago-Borges, J., Rodionov, D. A., Leyn, S. A., Osterman, A. L., Barratt, M. J., Ahmed, T., and J. I. Gordon. “Duodenal microbiota in stunted undernourished children with enteropathy.” N Engl J Med 383, pp. 321-333 (2020).
Chen*, R. Y., Mostafa*, I., Hibberd*, M. C., Das, S., Mahfuz, M., Naila, N. N., Islam, M. M., Huq, S., Alam, M. A., Zaman, M. U., Raman, A. S., Webber, D., Zhou, C., Sundaresan, V., Ahsan, K., Meier, M. F., Barratt, M. J., Ahmed, T., and J. I. Gordon. “A microbiota-directed food intervention for undernourished children.” N Engl J Med 384, pp.1517-1528 (2021).
Chang, H-W., McNulty, N. P., Hibberd, M. C., O’Donnell, D., Cheng, J., Lombard, V., Henrissat, B., Ilkayeva, O., Muehlbauer, M. J., Newgard, C. B., Barratt, M. J., Lin, X., and J. I. Gordon. “Gut microbiome contributions to altered metabolism in a pig model of undernutrition.” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 118 (21), e2024446118 (2021).
Delannoy-Bruno, O., Desai, C., Raman, A. S., Chen, R. Y., Hibberd, M. C., Cheng, J., Han, N., Castillo, J. J., Couture, G., Lebrilla, C. B., Barve, R. A., Lombard, V., Henrissat, B., Leyn, S. A., Rodionov, D. A., Osterman, A. L., Hayashi, D. K., Meynier, A., Vinoy, S., Kirbach, K., Wilmot, T., Heath, A. C., Klein, S., Barratt, M. J., and J. I. Gordon. “Evaluating microbiome-directed fibre snacks in gnotobiotic mice and humans.” Nature 595, pp. 91-95 (2021).
Chen, R. Y., Mostafa, I., Hibberd, M. C., Das, S., Lynn, H. M., Webber, D. M., Mahfuz, M., Barratt, M. J., Ahmed, T. and J. I. Gordon. “Melding microbiome and nutritional science with early child development.” Nat Med 27 (9), pp.1503-1506 (2021).
M. J. Barratt, S. Nuzhat, K. Ahsan, S. A. Frese, A. A. Arzamasov, S. A. Sarker, M. M. Islam, P. Palit, M. R. Islam, M. C. Hibberd, S. Nakshatri, C. A. Cowardin, J. L. Guruge, A. E. Byrne, S.Venkatesh, V. Sundaresan, B. Henrick, R. M. Duar, R. D. Mitchell, G. Casaburi, J. Prambs, R. Flannery, M. Mahfuz, D. A. Rodionov, A. L. Osterman, D. Kyle, T. Ahmed and J. I. Gordon, “Bifidobacterium infantis treatment promotes weight gain in Bangladeshi infants with severe acute malnutrition.” Science Transl Med, 14, eabk1107 (2022).