Tag Archives: Microbes

New White House NATIONAL MICROBIOME INITIATIVE

 

(Source: www.whitehouse.gov)
(Source: www.whitehouse.gov)

 

It is now known that microbes have an enormous impact – for good or ill – on people’s health and the health of the entire planet. Two days ago, on May 13 2016, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy heeded the advice of scientists and launched a new National Microbiome Initiative. The program will foster interdisciplinary study of the various microbiomes found in and on the human body and across diverse ecosystems. (Nather, 2016)
The new National Microbiome Initiative will begin with a federal investment of $121 million in funding from several governmental agencies and additional private support from more than 100 outside organizations, including $100 million over four years from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Initiative will include $20 million in new research grants from the National Institutes of Health, as well as $16 million from the National Science Foundation, $15.9 million from the Department of Agriculture, $12.5 million from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and $10 million from the Department of Energy.
(Source: www.slideshare.net)
(Source: www.slideshare.net)
As the FACT SHEET issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in its announcement of the National Microbiome Initiative states:
“There is no part of the human experience untouched by microorganisms. Microbiome science has the potential to revolutionize healthcare, agriculture, biomanufacturing, environmental management, and even building design and construction.”

 

Microbiomes of the Human Body

(Source: uBiome)
(Source: uBiome)

 

Soil Microbiome

(Source: www.the-scientist.com)
(Source: www.the-scientist.com)

 

 

The FACT SHEET explains why this Initiative is needed and its three main areas of focus:
“Microbiomes are the communities of microorganisms that live on or in people, plants, soil, oceans, and the atmosphere. Microbiomes maintain healthy function of these diverse ecosystems, influencing human health, climate change, food security, and other factors. Dysfunctional microbiomes are associated with issues including human chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and asthma; local ecological disruptions such as the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico; and reductions in agricultural productivity. Numerous industrial processes such as biofuel production and food processing depend on healthy microbial communities. Although new technologies have enabled exciting discoveries about the importance of microbiomes, scientists still lack the knowledge and tools to manage microbiomes in a manner that prevents dysfunction or restores healthy function.
“The NMI aims to advance understanding of microbiome behavior and enable protection and restoration of healthy microbiome function. In a year-long fact-finding process, scientists from Federal agencies, academia, and the private sector converged on three recommended areas of focus for microbiome science, which are now the goals of the NMI:
  1. Supporting interdisciplinary research to answer fundamental questions about microbiomes in diverse ecosystems.
  2.  Developing platform technologies that will generate insights and help share knowledge of microbiomes in diverse ecosystems and enhance access to microbiome data.
  3.   Expanding the microbiome workforce through citizen science, public engagement, and educational opportunities.”

 

 

(Source: microbialmodus.wordpress.com)
(Source: microbialmodus.wordpress.com)

Click here to see an enlarged version of this graphic.

 

This National Microbiome Initiative is much needed and will be an important part of President Obama’s legacy to the country and our planet.

 

 

(Source: us.anygator.com)
(Source: us.anygator.com)

 

 

Since microbes’ roles in keeping us healthy or making us ill fascinate me, I’m greatly looking forward  to seeing what useful knowledge emerges from this National Microbiome Initiative.

 

(Source: www.pinterest.com)
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

MicrobialModus. (?). Graphic: Our Microbial Planet. See: https://microbialmodus.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/microbes_poster_large.gif

Nather, D. (2016). Obama administration to launch microbiome initiative, heeding scientists’ calls. See: https://www.statnews.com/2016/05/12/national-microbiome-initiative/

White House OSTP. (5/13/2016). FACT SHEET: Announcing the National Microbiome Initiative. See: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/documents/OSTP%20National%20Microbiome%20Initiative%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

 

 

 

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

ONLINE COURSE on the Gut Microbiome

 

 

imgres

 

The University of Colorado at Boulder is offering a fascinating free online course on the human microbiome called

GUT CHECK: EXPLORING YOUR MICROBIOME

This course is going to cover many of the topics I’ve written about on this Allergies and Your Gut site/blog – but you’ll get to hear it and much more from the horses’ mouths:  Prof. Rob Knight, Dr. Jessica Metcalf and Dr. Katherine Amato.
Rob Knight is a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also works on the Human Microbiome Project.
Professor Rob Knight. (Source: knightlab.colorado.edu)
Professor Rob Knight. (Source: knightlab.colorado.edu)

 

Dr. Jessica Metcalf is an Evolutionary Biologist and Senior Research Associate at the BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado at Boulder.

 

Dr. Jessica Metcalf
Dr. Jessica L. Metcalf

 

Dr. Katherine R. Amato is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology and part of the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She also contributes to the American Gut Project.

 

Dr. Katherine R. Amato
Dr. Katherine R. Amato
From the course’s website:

Imagine if there were an organ in your body that weighed as much as your brain, that affected your health, your weight, and even your behavior. Wouldn’t you want to know more about it? There is such an organ — the collection of microbes in and on your body, your human microbiome.

ABOUT THE COURSE
The human body harbors up to ten times as many microbial cells as human cells. What are these microbes and what are they doing? How can we study them to find out? What do they tell us about ourselves? Just as our human genome records traces of who we are and the conditions we have adapted to during evolutionary history, our microbial genomes may record traces of what we have eaten, where we have lived, and who we have been in contact with. The microbial ecosystems in different parts of our bodies, which differ radically from one another, also supply a wide range of functions that affect many aspects of human health.

Join us on a guided tour of the human gut and its microscopic inhabitants. We will first review what microbes are and how they get into our bodies. We will then discuss the methods we use to study microbial communities and briefly explore how gut microbiome data are analyzed. This information will provide us with a foundation to explore current microbiome research. We will cover topics such as the influence of the gut microbiota on our nutrition, health and behavior. Did you know that gut microbes may influence how sick we get or the way we feel? The course will culminate with an in-depth review of the American Gut Project, the world’s largest open-source, crowd-sourced science project, from how it works to what it’s taught us up until now.

 

COURSE SYLLABUS

Week 1: Introduction to microbes and the human microbiome

Meet Professor Rob Knight, Dr. Jessica Metcalf, and Dr. Katherine Amato as they introduce the human microbiome. Key topics this week are:

* What are microbes?

* The human microbiome

* Where do you get your microbes?

Week 2: How we study the microbiome

We will discuss the history of microbial research and review cutting-edge techniques used to examine microbial communities today. Key topics this week are:

* The history of studying microbes

* Basics of high-throughput DNA sequencing

* ‘Omics’ and other useful technologies

Week 3: Making sense out of microbial data

We will briefly review techniques used for analyzing microbiome data. This information will serve as a foundation for exploring recent discoveries in microbiome research later on. Key topics this week are:

* How do we identify a microbe?

* Basics of alpha-diversity

* Beta-diversity, and visualizing differences

Week 4: The human gut microbiome and your health

We will discuss major factors affecting the gut microbiome. We will also explore in detail what we currently know about diet, nutrition, health, and the gut microbiome. Key topics this week are:

* Impact of diet and age on the gut microbiota

* Obesity and the gut microbiota

* Human microbiome and gut disease

* Manipulating the microbiome through fecal transplants

Week 5: Gut microbe-host interactions: Beyond nutrition

We will talk about how the gut microbiome can affect your body outside of the gut, including interactions with the immune system and the brain. Key topics this week are:

* Gut microbiota interactions with the immune system

* Gut microbiota, autoimmune diseases, and allergies

* The gut-brain axis

* Post-mortem human microbiome

Week 6: What’s in the American Gut?

We will re-introduce the American Gut Project and describe results both at an individual and a population level. Key topics this week are:

* The American Gut Project and crowd-funding

* Collecting samples

* Michael Pollan vs. Jeff Leach: American Gut results explained

* Comparing the American Gut to other populations

Here’s the website for learning more about this free course & signing up for it: https://www.coursera.org/course/microbiome
The first 6-week session starts next Monday, October 6 2014 and runs through November 14 2014. You can also sign up to be notified when the next session will begin. They say it will involve 3-5 hours of work/week.

 

images-7

 

 

If you take the course, please let me know how you like it. I’m super busy this fall so am going to wait until the next time it’s offered.

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.