Alexander Khoruts

Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Section Lead, Luminal GI
MEC Directorship
Director, UMN Microbiota Therapeutics Program


Administrator Info
Name: GI Division
Phone: 612-625-8999
Mail: 420 Delaware Street SE, MMC 36, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Dr. Khoruts has trained at the University of Minnesota. In addition to completing his fellowship in gastroenterology, he also trained in basic immunology as a Howard Hughes Physician Fellow under the mentorship of Dr. Marc Jenkins in the Department of Microbiology. He continued his early research focus on basic biology of T cells and autoimmunity, but subsequently has redirected his efforts into areas ofmicrobiota therapeutics.

Research Summary

As a physician-scientist I am most interested in translating basic scientific discoveries and ideas into clinical applications. My main focus since mid-2000s has been on development of treatments to repair antibiotic injury to intestinal microbial communities, also known as the ‘microbiota’. The most well recognized complication of treatment with antibiotics is Clostridioides difficile infection. However, the standard treatment for this infection is more antibiotics. In fact, the treatment doesn’t work in many patients and the infection keeps coming back.

Our program has developed therapeutic preparations of donor microbiota to treat patients with difficult C. difficile infections; these are commonly known as Fecal Microbiota Transplants (FMT), although we prefer the term Intestinal Microbiota Transplants (IMT). We manufacture IMT preparations as frozen liquid or encapsulated freeze-dried microbiota. The latter can be taken by mouth.

Microbiota therapeutics are classified as drugs by the FDA. However, they are clearly different from small molecule drugs and biologics. In fact, these therapeutics belong to an entirely novel class of drugs, which requires building a new pharmacologic discipline. I am intensely interested in all aspects of microbiota therapeutics pharmacology, including formulation, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics.

There are many potential clinical applications of microbiota therapeutics. Our program is committed to support academic trials for a variety of applications. Some of the ongoing work is in the areas of ulcerative colitis, autism, advanced liver disease, and others. Microbiome research is applicable to many areas of medicine and we are happy to collaborate with clinical investigators.

The success of our program is built on team science. Microbiome research is complex, and our team includes expertise in computational biology, microbiology, pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, and others. A more complete description of the program can be found here.

Teaching Summary

Mucosal immunology; Clinical gastroenterology

Clinical Summary

Gastroenterology; Immune disorders involving the gastrointestinal tract; Microbiota therapeutics


MD, University of Minnesota

Fellowships, Residencies, and Visiting Engagements

Internal Medicine, Residency
University of Minnesota
Gastroenterology, Fellowship
University of Minnesota

Honors and Recognition

Research Excellence Award, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota
Top Doctors, Minnesota Monthly Magazine
Young Investigator Award (2001-2003), Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota
Top 1% Most Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics (2019, 2020)

Professional Memberships

Principal Investigator on several NIH-funded research projects
American Association of Immunologists, Member
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Member
American Gastroenterological Association, Member
Selected Publications

Selected Publications

Staley, C., Kaiser, T., Beura, L.K., Hamilton, M.J., Weingarden, A.R., Bobr, A., Kang, J., Masopust, D., Sadowsky, M.J., and Khoruts, A. Stable engraftment of human microbiota into mice with a single oral gavage following antibiotic conditioning. Microbiome. 2017, 5(1):87.,
Staley C, Kaiser T, Vaughn BP, Craiziger C, Hamilton MJ, Kabage AJ, Khoruts A, Sadowsky MJ. Durable long-term bacterial engraftment following encapsulated fecal microbiota transplantation to treat Clostridium difficile infection. mBio. 2019.,
Staley, C.*, Kaiser ,T., and Khoruts, A*. Clinician Guide to Microbiome Testing. Dig Dis Sci. 2018, 63(12):3167-3177; *Equal contributors.,
Khoruts A, Hoffmann DE, Palumbo FB. The impact of regulatory policies on the future of fecal microbiota transplanatation. J Law Med Ethics. 2019, 47:482-504,