A team of University of Michigan researchers has been working to describe how one of the most prevalent bacteria in your gut breaks down starch and converts it into nutrients that your body can use. This new paradigm may ultimately help both the development of probiotics and to inform doctors who are prescribing antibiotics.
UM scientists integrate microbial genomics, environmental chemistry, and ecosystem processes to understand harmful algal blooms. One of the key processes at the nexus of these three fields is hydrogen peroxide production and interaction with bacterial communities. Hydrogen peroxide is known to suppress certain strains of bacteria and could play a pivotal role in the rise of toxic cyanobacterial communities.
In May, Dr. Norman Pace and Dr. Ford Doolittle met at the Rackham Michigan Meeting to debate life's family tree. This debate served to demonstrate that our understanding of the phylogeny of life is a work in progress. You may follow along with the entire debate here.
Biology 173 was recently featured in The Scientist. Read the full story here.
May 16-18, Michigan Meeting on Microbial Communities
The Integrated Training in Microbial Systems (ITiMS) application deadline is approaching (March 7, 2016). The ITiMS program offers mentorship and financial support to University of Michigan doctoral students exploring the burgeoning field of microbiome studies. We aim to train future scientists who will design and implement novel prevention, diagnostic, and treatment strategies stemming from a deep understanding of the impact of microbial communities on human and environmental health.
On Friday, December 4th, the UMHS Depression Center will be presenting Gut Feelings: Microbes, Mood, and Metabolism as part of their colloquium series. This colloquium has been created for health professionals and researchers with an interest in depression and related illnesses. The objective of this colloquium is to help physicians, researchers, social workers, psychologists, and other health care professionals increase their knowledge of the epidemiology, etiology, and treatment of depression. With greater understanding of recent advances in depression research and new treatment modalities, clinicians can make more informed decisions regarding patient care and help to translate research into practice.
Dr. Kimberley Seed joined the UM in the fall of 2014 as a new Assistant Professor in the department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. Dr. Seed’s research aims to understand the impact of dynamic bacterial-viral interactions on pathogen evolution and epidemiology.
Dr. Evan Snitkin recently joined the UM as an Assistant Professor in the departments of Microbiology and Immunology and Internal Medicine. His work employing whole genome sequencing to molecularly characterize hospital outbreaks of multi-drug resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baumannii demonstrated the power of bioinformatics in tracking and fighting nosocomial infections.
Dr. Margaret McFall-Ngai is professor of medical microbiology at the University of Wisconsin (Madison). On Friday May 1st she will be presenting a seminar titled "The diversity of host-microbe interactions across the animal kingdom and how biologists are studying these systems". This will be of great interest to anyone curious about the interactions between microbial communities and their animal hosts.
New faculty member Randy Seeley, Ph.D., has just joined U-M as Professor of Surgery and Professor of Metabolism, Endodontics and Diabetes. His recent work on the molecular underpinnings of the effects of bariatric surgery on weight and metabolism includes studies on the role of the gut microbiome and its metabolites.