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MIT Microbiome Club General Body Meeting + Prof. Sean Gibbons
September 17, 2020
Join us for our first meeting of the year! The first half of the meeting will be dedicated to discussing our club, talking about what we accomplished last year, and how you can get involved this year. We’re looking for many new people to join us and help plan our amazing events!
During the second half of the meeting, Prof. Sean Gibbons, a Washington Research Foundation Distinguished Investigator and faculty member at the Institute of Systems Biology (ISB), will give a talk on “Seeing microbiome ‘health’ through a host lens”. See abstract and bio below for more information.
Abstract: We are walking ecosystems, inoculated at birth with a unique set of microbes that are integral to the functioning of our bodies. The physiology of our commensal gut microbiota is intertwined with our metabolism, immune function, and mental state. The specifics of this entanglement remain largely unknown and are somewhat unique to individuals, and when any one piece of this complex system breaks, our health can suffer. There appear to be many ways to build a healthy, functional microbiome and several distinct ways in which it can break. Despite the hundreds of associations with human disease, there are only a handful of cases where the exact contribution of the microbiome to the etiology of a disease is known. In this talk, I describe recent progress made by my group in leveraging multi-omic data and mechanistic modeling to better define microbiome health and disease. Furthermore, I describe new approaches for engineering the composition and function of the gut microbiome to mitigate disease risk and optimize wellness.
Bio: Sean Gibbons earned his PhD in biophysics from the University of Chicago in 2015. He completed his postdoctoral work at MIT in 2018. Sean is now an assistant professor at the Institute for Systems Biology, in Seattle. His lab studies the ecology and evolution of microbial communities. In particular, Sean is interested in how host-associated bacterial communities influence the health and wellness of the host organism. His group designs computational and wet-lab tools for studying these complex systems. Ultimately, the Gibbons Lab aims to develop strategies for engineering the ecology of the gut microbiome to improve human health.