Café des Sciences: Human Microbiome
The Office for Science and Technology of Chicago organized its first Café des Sciences this Thursday, January 25, on the human microbiome.
Mr. Daniels Van der Lelie of Gusto Global was the guest speaker. He was accompanied by Dr. Safiyh Taghavi (Gusto Global) and Dr. Christopher Henry (Argonne National Laboratory), two of the four co-founders of Gusto Global.
The human microbiota is the microbial population that colonizes our body internally (digestive tract, oral cavity, vaginal flora ...) and externally (mainly at the level of the skin). The genetic information carried by the total DNA of the microbiota constitutes the microbiome. A poor diet, a partial ablation of the intestine, and irradiation sessions during treatment of cancer can damage our microbiota. The concept presented by Dr. Van der Lelie was to use the re-inoculation of a patient’s intestine (for example after an operation) using microbes issued from selected body parts of a healthy individual in order to restore the patient’s health. Results presented by Dr. Van der Lelie were issued from studies performed on mice, and seem very promising for the future. Researchers hope to further fight diseases such as food allergies, cancer, asthma and obesity with the help of a better understanding of the human microbiota. Gusto Global aims to understand the behavior of the human microbiota in order to develop adapted drugs.
By examining the 30 trillion microbes that our intestines contains, Dr. Van der Lelie presented how they have developed Gust +, a computer modeling platform that predicts how these microbes interact with each other and impact our immune system.
Thirty participants were present for this event. We welcomed students, teachers, researchers, and members of the medical profession,... from the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, the Consulate of Great Britain, and the Consulate of the Netherlands.
This Café des Sciences was an opportunity for participants to ask questions and interact directly with the speaker while enjoying French wine and cheese.
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