Harvard University - Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology

DAVID A. RELMAN: "UNREST AT HOME: STABILITY AND RESILIENCE IN THE HUMAN MICROBIOME"

Date/Time Thu, 11/29/2012, noon – 1 p.m.
Location Northwest Lecture Hall B-103
Description David Relman, Ph.D.

Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor
Departments of Medicine, and of Microbiology & Immunology
Stanford University

"Unrest at Home: Stability and Resilience in the Human Microbiome"

Complex microbial communities occupy the skin and mucosal surfaces of humans. Recent advances in the study of these communities have highlighted the tremendous diversity of these communities, features of individuality, conserved as well as personalized predicted functional attributes, and the intimate relationship of these communities to host physiology. Yet, questions remain about the ecological processes that establish and maintain the human microbiota throughout life, as well as the features of this ecosystem that are associated with stability, recovery after disturbance, and with 'colonization resistance' to pathogens. We are exploring the features of stability and resilience in the human oral and distal gut microbial communities in the setting of deliberate disturbance in human volunteers. As with other ecosystems, the human microbiome at baseline reveals a dynamic regime. Perturbation may cause at least transient alterations in structure and function; compounded perturbations may lead to persistent alternative states. Our long-term goal is a predictive understanding of the microbiome, and well-informed strategies for its manipulation, so as to maintain or restore health.

http://sites.google.com/site/davidrelmanlab/

  (Molecular & Cellular Biology)
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