The Sonnenburg Lab in the News

The Living Gut.

"Our gut plays host to millions of harmless bacteria that make up our gut microbiome, which plays important roles in our immune and nervous systems, and our metabolism."

Encoding Unique Fluorescent Profiles Enables Microbiota Strain Distinction.

"Gut microbes play a variety of roles in health and disease, but there has been a dearth of tools to investigate the relationship between microbial activity and host physiology."

5 Ways to Boost Your Kid's Gut Health.

"If you want to set him up for a lifetime of good health, it’s essential to bolster the bacteria in his belly. As a microbiologist and a mom, I’ve got five science-based strategies for doing just that."

Gut bust: Intestinal microbes in peril.

"Let’s be clear: Justin and Erica Sonnenburg, both PhD, are not advocating a return en masse to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle that has characterized 95 percent of our species’ evolutionary history."

We’re home to trillions of cells that aren’t ours and they’re keeping us alive.

"The microbiome that lives in our gut—by far, our most extensive collection—affects just about every aspect of our health, from the nutrition we get from our food, to our immune systems, to our moods."

Stanford researchers explain how what’s in our bellies affects myriad health issues.

"The composition of micobiota in the large intestine may shed light on why a growing number of children and adults in Western countries have allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases, even autism. Improving gut health, they say, also could help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes and possibly cure obesity."

Center launched to explore, exploit human microbiome.

"The center will accelerate research bent on learning more about the internal microbial ecosystems with which we co-exist, and on applying this knowledge to enhance people’s health."

Op-Ed: The extinction inside our guts.

"For the approximately 180,000 years that humans exclusively foraged for food ... their guts [had] up to 50% more bacterial species and twice as many bacterial genes than ours do."

What Your Low-Fiber Diet Does to Your Health.

"For every salad passed over for a chicken nugget, the trillions of bacteria living in your gut go a little more ignored."

Fibre and the microbiome.

"What a low fibre diet does to our gut bugs."

Don't wash your hands! A bit of dirt is good for you.

"Experts say cleaning less often would protect against allergies by allowing helpful bacteria into the body."

Your poor diet might hurt your grandchildren’s guts.

"Here’s another reason to eat your vegetables. Trillions of microbes in the human large intestine—known as the microbiome—depend on dietary fiber to thrive and give us energy. As fiber intake declines, so, too, does the range of bacteria that can survive in the gut."

Is it all in your gut?

"There are up to 100 trillion microbes living in the human body. Are they making us fat?"

How the Western Diet Has Derailed Our Evolution.

"Burgers and fries have nearly killed our ancestral microbiome."

Stanford image takes big honors at 2015 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition.

"Small things seldom get big press, but once a year the microscopic world takes front and center stage at Nikon’s annual Small World Photomicrography Competition."

Justin and Erica Sonnenburg: The Gut Connection.

"Having just written a revealing book entitled ‘The Good Gut’, Justin and Erica tell us why the Western diet has been so damaging and whether it can even explain shifts in our mental wellbeing."

Science says your “gut feeling” isn’t a metaphor.

"To keep your body going, you don’t need a functioning brain, but you do need something to provide energy. Enter the gut."

In Defense of Fiber: How Changing Your Diet Changes Your Gut Bacteria.

"You no longer live in a world where you can pretend you're only eating for one; the trillions of bacteria in your gut, we now know, also feed on what you put in your mouth—and they behave very differently depending on what that is."

To be healthy, take care of your microbiome.

"The Good Gut is one of a burst of new books that advise how to nourish the microbiome and explain how doing so may lead to better health. But as the Sonnenburgs know well, findings from the field of microbiome research are exciting, but unsettled."

Gut Feelings–the "Second Brain" in Our Gastrointestinal Systems [Excerpt]

"There is a superhighway between the brain and GI system that holds great sway over humans."

Getting to the good gut: how to go about it.

"Stanford microbiologists Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, and Erica Sonnenburg, PhD, (they’re married) have written a new book, The Good Gut, about the importance of restocking our germ-depleted lower intestines."

Cute Family. And You Should See Their Bacteria.

"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."

Fiber-Famished Gut Microbes Linked to Poor Health

"'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.'"

Among Trillions of Microbes in the Gut, a Few are Special

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.

Engineering the Human Microbiome Shows Promise for Treating Disease

Synthetic biology may lead to the creation of smart microbes that can detect and treat disease.

The Excrement Experiment: Treating disease with fecal transplants.

Some disease sufferers have benefitted from fecal transplantation, in which a healthy person’s stool is transferred to a sick person’s colon.

This Land Is Island

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.

Crazy Way Microbes Colonize, Control The Human Body

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.

Goggles Optional: You’ve got a friend in poo

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.

Some of My Best Friends Are Germs

"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.'"

How Gut Bacteria Evolved to Feast on Sushi

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.'"