"The Sonnenburgs believe, however, that the root of many Western diseases can be traced to our languishing guts, which we’ve done about as good a job looking after as we have the rain forests and the whales."
"'Diet is one of the most powerful tools we have for changing the microbiota,' Justin Sonnenburg, a biologist at Stanford University, said earlier this month at a Keystone Symposia conference on the gut microbiome. 'Dietary fiber and diversity of the microbiota complement each other for better health outcomes.'"
Though the human gut microbiota consists of hundreds of different species, certain phylotypes appear to be especially important in maintaining balance in the gastrointestinal ecosystem.
Synthetic biology may lead to the creation of smart microbes that can detect and treat disease.
Justin and a panel of other scientists and professors sit down with Seth Shostak and Molly Bentley of SETI's podcast Big Picture Science to discuss the concept of islands: what that means geographically, astronomically, and microbially.
Justin speaks with Jacqueline Howard, creator of the video short series Talk Nerdy to Me, about the role the microbiota plays in human health, how we acquire this community, and how to take good care of it.
Jessica and Katharine are interviewed by Goggles Optional hosts Trisha, Alex, Alisa, and David about the gut microbiota and the results from their Nature paper about how pathogens capitalize on the disturbed gut microbiota after antibiotic treatment.
"Justin Sonnenburg, a microbiologist at Stanford, suggests that we would do well to begin regarding the human body as 'an elaborate vessel optimized for the growth and spread of our microbial inhabitants.'"
A horizontal gene transfer event 40,000 years ago allows strains of B. plebeius in the guts of some Japanese people to consume seaweed carbohydrates. An event that, today, may not be possible. "'We're undergoing a tremendous experiment right now,' [Sonnenburg] says. 'We're consuming a lot of really highly processed calorie-dense food that's incredibly sterile, so they lack the microbial reservoirs for these gene transfer events.'"