The Human Microbiome: Your Own Personal Ecosystem

FASEBOur recent studies have revealed that there exists in normal animals an abundant and characteristic microflora, not only in the large intestine, but also in all the other parts of the digestive tract, including the mouth, the stomach and the small intestine. These microorganisms should not be regarded merely as contaminants. Rather, they become so intimately associated with the various digestive organs that they form with them a well-defined ecosystem of which each component is influenced by the others, and by the environmental conditions.”–René Dubos (1964)

This quote leads a terrific article published by FASEB that sets the context for microbiome research. Starting at the beginning with Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in the 17th century and his description of “many very little living animalcules, very prettily a-moving”–residents of his own mouth–and continuing on through Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch who developed our understandings of “germs” and infectious disease. The article takes us through microbiology to the present day and our growing understanding of the microbial ecosystem that keep us healthy.

Highly recommended reading. Find the article here:

The Human Microbiome: Your Own Personal Ecosystem


A big congratulations to Vanni Bucci!

vanniVanni has been awarded a grant from the NIAID to apply new mathematical to improve treatment of intestinal disease. The work will be to predict the effects of broad spectrum antibiotics affect the dynamics of the microbiome. The goal is to identify microbiome patterns and develop strategies to speed recovery or prevent disease in the first place.

Read the UMass Dartmouth press release here:
UMass Dartmouth Professor earns…

Vanni was a co-author of a recent Nature article–“Precision microbiome reconstitution restores bile acid mediated resistance to Clostridium difficile“– where that the gut commensal bacterium Clostridium scindens is associated with resistance to C. difficile. C. scindens metabolizes bile salts to produce inhibitors of C. difficile. Very exciting!