Niel Baxter

PhD Student since 2012

Research areas

  • Colorectal cancer


  • BS: Indiana University (2011)
Niel Baxter


My research is focussed on the role of the gut microbiota in colorectal cancer (CRC). Numerous studies have identified shifts in the microbiota of CRC patients compared to healthy individuals. Using mouse a model of CRC, we’ve studied how such shifts can influence the progression of tumorigenesis. Now I’m working to develop microbiota-based models for identifying patients with CRC and to complement conventional non-invasive tests (i.e. fecal occult blood test, fecal immunochemical test) for improved detection of pre-cancerous lesions. Ultimately we hope to be capable of assessing an individual’s risk for developing CRC based on their microbiota and other risk factors. With a better understanding of the microbiota’s role in tumorigenesis, we could design pre- and probiotic therapies to prevent or slow the development of CRC.

Papers from time in Schloss lab

  1. Zackular JP, Baxter NT, Iverson KD, Sadler WD, Petrosino JF, Chen GY, Schloss PD. 2013. The gut microbiome modulates colon tumorigenesis. mBio. 4: e00692-13. DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00692-13.
  2. Kozich JJ, Westcott SL, Baxter NT, Highlander SK, Schloss PD. 2013. Development of a dual-index sequencing strategy and curation pipeline for analyzing amplicon sequence data on the MiSeq Illumina sequencing platform. Appl Environ Microbiol. 79: 5112-20. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01043-13.
  3. Marino S, Baxter NT, Huffnagle GB, Petrosino JF, Schloss PD. 2014. Mathematical modeling of primary succession of murine intestinal microbiota. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 111: 439-44. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1311322111.
  4. Baxter NT, Zackular JP, Chen GY, Schloss PD. 2014. Structure of the gut microbiome following colonization with human feces determines colonic tumor burden. Microbiome. 2: 20. DOI: 10.1186/2049-2618-2-20.
  5. Zackular JP, Baxter NT, Chen GH, Schloss PD. 2015. Manipulation of the gut microbiota reveals role in colon tumorigenesis. mSphere. 1: e00001-e00015. DOI: 10.1128/mSphere.00001-15.
  6. Baxter NT, Wan JJ, Schubert AM, Jenior ML, Myers P, Schloss PD. 2015. Intra- and interindividual variations mask interspecies variation in the microbiota of sympatric peromyscus populations. Appl Environ Microbiol. 81: 396-404. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02303-14.
  7. Flynn KJ, Baxter NT, Schloss PD. 2016. Metabolic and community synergy of oral bacteria in colorectal cancer. mSphere. 1: e00102-16. DOI: 10.1128/mSphere.00102-16.
  8. Baxter NT, Koumpouras CC, Rogers MA, Ruffin MT 4th, Schloss PD. 2016. DNA from fecal immunochemical test can replace stool for detection of colonic lesions using a microbiota-based model. Microbiome. 4: 59. DOI: 10.1186/s40168-016-0205-y.
  9. Baxter NT, Ruffin MT 4th, Rogers MA, Schloss PD. 2016. Microbiota-based model improves the sensitivity of fecal immunochemical test for detecting colonic lesions. Genome Medicine. 8: 1. DOI: 10.1186/s13073-016-0290-3.
  10. Sze MA, Baxter NT, Ruffin MT IV, Rogers MAM, Schloss PD. 2017. Normalization of the microbiota in patients after treatment for colonic lesions. Microbiome. 5: 150. DOI: 10.1186/s40168-017-0366-3.
  11. Seregin SS, Golovchenko N, Schaf B, Chen J, Pudlo NA, Mitchell J, Baxter NT, Zhao L, Schloss PD, Martens EC, Eaton KA, Chen GY. 2017. NLRP6 protects IL10-/- mice from colitis by limiting colonization of Akkermansia muciniphila. Cell Reports. 19: 733-745. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.03.080.
  12. Baxter NT, Lesniak NA, Sinani H, Schloss PD, Koropatkin NM. 2019. The glucoamylase inhibitor acarbose has a diet-dependent and reversible effect on the murine gut microbiome. mSphere. 4: e00528-18. DOI: 10.1128/mSphere.00528-18.