The father of the microbiome

Posted by: | April 20, 2017 | Comments

11.29.2016--Dr. Jeffrey Gordon with students in his lab. James Byard / WUSTL Photos

By Julia Evangelou Strait: Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, is expanding our understanding of human health into nonhuman realms, studying the bacteria that take up residence in the gut and help define who we become. Indeed, this research suggests you are what you — and your microbes — eat.

The isolated living spaces of laboratory mice, ­especially those born with no exposure to ­bacteria, are a far cry from the way people actually live, whether home is in the suburbs of the American Midwest, the urban slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, or the rural villages of Malawi. Nevertheless, ­studies of such mice — and the human gut bacteria they are given — have shed light on two of the major public health crises of our time — obesity and childhood malnutrition.

Spearheading efforts to understand the ­human gut microbiome is renowned researcher ­Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, of Washington ­University School of Medicine in St. Louis. ­Gordon has been called the father of this field as well as, arguably, the most ­influential human ­microbiome scientist ­working ­today. Along with ­talented ­students and ­colleagues, ­Gordon has harnessed the ­power of specialized mouse models to study the microbial ­communities that ­colonize the ­human gut. Over the past 20 years, this work has revolutionized our ­understanding of human biology, ­implicating the gut’s ­microbial residents in orchestrating healthy growth and ­development when these communities work well, and in ­causing disease when they do not.

Read more at: the SOURCE \ Washington University at St. Louis

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