STEM Tuesday: Human Microbiome

This is the first of a slew of posts on the Human Microbiome.  As a former microbiologist, and constant lover of the Little Life, this project just blows my mind.


Did you know?

The Human Microbiome Project is not pseudo-science.  It’s an interdisciplinary project funded by NIH.

Could you guess?

Our Little Life (our micro-flora) carries out activities that are not part of our genetic coding and are essential  for our health.  So when we talk about the “human genome” we should think of it as an amalgam of human genes and those of our microbes.

Can you picture it?

Only 10% of the cells that make up the human body are human. The rest is microorganisms. Of course, microbial cells are generally way tinier than human cells, so although out-numbering human cells, they only make up about 2 pounds of every 100 of ours.

Can you imagine?

The project has an Ethics component.  Besides new medicines, regulations, and other health implications, the discoveries may alter how we define what it means to be human.

Did you phantom?

Scientists have isolated microorganisms in every tissue of our bodies except the brain. They believe it’s only a matter of time before the Little Life is found there, too.

Did you know?

The birth process and a baby nursing gives babies just the right mix of Little Life to digest the food and begin to set up a healthy micro-flora.

Did you understand?

A regimen of antibiotics can alter the Little Life helping us stay healthy. It can take up to two years to return our micro-flora to “normality.” What we eat, who we hang out with, and where we live all play a part in what makes up our Little

The 1st Annual Translational Microbiome Conference is in Boston this coming May. Subjects covered include Women’s Health, COPD, Obesity, Dermatology, and more.  The cost of registration is way more than my budget can tolerate, so I asked to volunteer.  If accepted, I’ll find a way to get there.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.  Maybe they’ll want a blogger in their midst.