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The Cambridge ‘Our Body’ team are taking a magnifying glass to the secret world of your microbiome. Compared to your own cells, you’re outnumbered approximately 3:1 by these microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. But is this 1-3% of your body weight helpful or harmful? Our speakers will share some of the new ways we’re learning about the impact of our internal alien ecosystem in our body and what it can reveal about diseases and treatment.
The human microbiome - how we study the microbes that have made you their home
The field of microbiology has existed for hundreds of years, but our knowledge of microbes is limited to less than 1% of all known microbes. The human body harbors trillions of microbial cells, living in different body sites. These microbes form complex communities, which can vary substantially between individuals, yet play important roles in human health and disease. With the progress in modern DNA sequencing methods and advances in computational approaches, we have gained new insights in to a huge set of previously unknown microbes, providing clues to their potential roles in the human body.
A spoonful of sugar... a scoopful of poop
Dr Pippa Corrie (Clinical Consultant, Dpt of Oncology, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
The human body is an ecosystem, harbouring a huge array of micro-organisms. Around 40 trillion bacterial cells make up the adult gut microbiome and account for about 1kg of our body weight. Humans have an intimate, co-dependent relationship with these bacteria: microbial cells and human cells co-exist in a ratio of about 1.3:1. Our gut microbiome evolves quickly over the first few years of life and continues to change throughout our lives, influenced by the environment, our diet, drugs we take such as antibiotics, stress levels and disease.