Is space really the final frontier or are the greatest mysteries closer to home? Researchers estimate that there are more undiscovered microbes on Earth than stars in the sky.
The microbiome is fast becoming an exciting new frontier in human health. That’s because our bodies are made up of a staggering amount of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes that make you, well, you. In fact,
you’re only 10 percent human; the rest is this microbial system that lives on your skin, in your mouth, nose, throat, lungs, guts….you get the picture.
From potentially shaping our personalities to fighting obesity, our microbiomes play a much stronger role in our overall health than we once thought. And it varies from person to person based on diet, health history, ancestry, geographic location and climate. Even those you live with, including your pets, can influence your microbiome.
But there’s a lot that we don’t know about these microbes, which form the pervasive (yet practically invisible) infrastructure of life on Earth.
UC San Diego has created an interdisciplinary initiative on microbial sciences in order to understand microbiomes in a detailed way and to find methods of manipulating them for the benefit of human and environmental health.
“Getting an understanding of what microbial communities there are, how those microbial communities change naturally and how we can specifically alter them in order to benefit either the health of our own bodies or the health our planet holds tremendous potential for revolutionizing a wide range of fields,” biologist Rob Knight explains.