Medicine Meets The Microbiome
The moment a baby enters the world – even before its first breath – the tiny body receives a massive infusion of bacteria, viruses and fungi. For thousands of years, exposure to these microbes has heralded our departure from the largely sterile environment of the womb into the real world – and all its messy complexity. No longer alone in our own bodies, we travel through life with trillions of microscopic companions. But our invisible legions aren’t simply hangers-on; studies on the body’s ecosystem have revealed the key role that the microbiome plays in health and disease. And by treating the microbiome as an extension of the human genome, we gain thousands of new targets for therapeutic intervention.
Karim Dabbagh |
My interest in the human microbiome was sparked 20 years ago, when I was a fellow at Stanford University, studying immune system development and the environmental factors influencing the development of allergies and autoimmune disease. Back then, the microbiome was not the hot topic it is today. Next-generation sequencing had yet to hit the market and bacterial typing was still done by slow and laborious microbiological methods, so progress was slow.
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