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“You cannot touch anything on planet Earth without finding yourself confronted with microbiome science, which was until very recently not looked at, at all,” says Dr. Sandrine Miller-Montgomery, executive director and professor of bioengineering at the UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation. She goes on to remind us of something that might be easy to forget: for millions of years prior to the existence of humans, the microbiome was evolving and adapting, resulting in the great diversity of bacteria, viruses and fungi we interact with on a daily basis—many of which are critical to the development of our immune systems. Despite a long-standing belief that microbes were nothing but enemies of health, research continues to show evidence of the vital roles and functions of the human microbiome in health and well-being, as well as the potential for the microbiome to be used as a diagnostic, preventative, and treatment tool in medicine by detecting early indications of disease and being manipulated in ways that could slow or altogether stop the progression of certain diseases.

Due to the nature of microbiome research being extremely diverse and applying to essentially all aspects of life, Dr. Miller-Montgomery explains the importance of not having a research ‘focus’ per se, but instead remaining open to any and all new findings within any sub-field of microbiome research, with the understanding that a single finding within one sub-field of research could have repercussions for all of the others. Dr. Miller-Montgomery offers an impressive amount of insight on a number of topics, including details about their current studies on the microbiome and aging, schizophrenia, depression, obesity, and diet. Tune in and visit https://cmi.ucsd.edu/ to learn more.

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