Please Explain: The Human Microbiome Project

Friday, June 22, 2012

Dr. Lita Proctor, program director for the Human Microbiome Project, and Dr. Martin Blaser, Professor of Internal Medicine and of Professor of Microbiology at NYU School of Medicine, talk about the 100 trillion good bacteria that live in the human body and the five-year federal project to sequence the genetic material of the bacteria taken from 250 healthy individuals. They’ll explain what they found, how healthy bacteria works in the body, and why it’s important for good health.


Dr. Martin Blaser and Dr. Lita Proctor

Comments [18]

pephie from Greenpoint

This is an international effort with an annual conference.
18 short video statements from enthusiastic researchers are here:

"This channel gathers videos on the human microbiome and related subjects."

Videos uploaded by MetaHIT, the European effort, (parallel and jointly with our NIH Human Microbiome Project) - It seems that in Europe the focus is especially Metagenomics of the Human Intestinal Tract.
These efforts are considered to comprise OPEN and SHARED data. (Similar to the Human Genome Project re our our own genes, not those of the microbes we host), considered to comprise OPEN and SHARED data.

Jun. 22 2012 02:14 PM
Michael from Brooklyn

We here about STDs, what about STBs (to coin an acronym)?

Are healthy bacteria historically transmitted in oral/oral, oral/genital, and genital/genital contact?

Jun. 22 2012 01:58 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Is there any connection between the microbiome & epigenetics?

Jun. 22 2012 01:56 PM
pephie from Greenpoint

Can the guest talk about "translational" medicine based on this research. Will pharma be selling us back our biota, rather than a global effort to learn ways to maintain our human microbiomes, and to maintain harmony by avoiding hurting it? Sources to restore balance?? Seaweed, connects us to the ocean microbiome, more present in Japanese people's microbiomes.

Jun. 22 2012 01:56 PM
Andrea from Chelsea

Can you comment on the pH of the body and it's relationship to this topic?

Jun. 22 2012 01:54 PM
Theresa from CT

Do either of you as scientists studying this in the lab, get sick from these bacteria?

Jun. 22 2012 01:54 PM
pephie from Greenpoint

I now put "Please no antibiotics if possible - religious preference - in honor of my natural human microbiome" when I fill out doctor intake forms.

Can the guests comment on how to visualize these colonies of microbes? We are looking at genetic databases to enumerate their various presence and numbers. Can we see them with electron microscopes?

Jun. 22 2012 01:49 PM
Nachum cohen from Greenwich village

Can the guests speak about new therapies wherein microbiomes are transplanted?

Jun. 22 2012 01:46 PM
Wilko from Tinton Falls, NJ

I was wondering whether physical interacting with people (hugging, kissing, hand shaking) has an impact on your microbes; making "aligning" the microbes of the interacting people?


Jun. 22 2012 01:44 PM
Leah from uptown

(1) Has the field of biology become biotechnology?

(2) What is the "mass" (volume) of the microbes that live in our bodies?

Jun. 22 2012 01:43 PM
Paul from White Plains

What happens when one preps for a colonoscopy? Isn't everything destroyed? Why not?

Jun. 22 2012 01:42 PM
Joe from Englewood, NJ

When one travels overseas for long periods does one's flora change much?

Jun. 22 2012 01:38 PM
Paul from UWS NYC


Can your guests comment on the modulating effect of parasites on the immune system as a treatment strategy for certain auto immune diseases such as MS, ulcerative colitis, and certain arthritic diseases.
Is "Helmitic" worm therapy gaing credence.

Jun. 22 2012 01:38 PM

I've recently switched to drinking raw milk from local farmer; been about 2 months. Lots of my friends are horrified that I might get some harmful bacteria. What is the real risk of drinking unpasteurized milk? Are there benefits, other than taste?

Jun. 22 2012 01:37 PM
Edward from NJ

On Radiolab, they had a segment about gut bacteria and mental health. Can the guests comment on those studies?

Jun. 22 2012 01:34 PM

Since there are good microbes, is it possible that parents who insist on cleanliness and antimicrobial cleaners are preventing children from acquiring the good bugs, as well as losing the chance to strengthen the immune system?

Jun. 22 2012 01:30 PM
Gary from Port Washington NY

How do we get these natural and good micros into our system??? What is your opinion of mouth washes before we brush - do we remove good micros? How do we maintain good micros on our skins??

Here is a link to a NY Times op-ed on this exact subject from today:

Jun. 22 2012 01:27 PM
Joe from Englewood, NJ

Is it true that we are born with a sterile gut and develop bacteria flora after birth?

Jun. 22 2012 01:24 PM

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