The microbial cloud

One of my favourite microbiologist is Jonathan Eisen, mostly because of the way he thinks about the microbial world around us and challenges conventions in science and elsewhere, but also because he’s creative and funny and outspoken in social media. Now he’s even dearer to my heart for sharing his personal experience with T1 diabetes in this compelling TED talk on the microbial world on and in us. It’s from about 6 months ago (sorry I’m a bit behind on my reading/viewing) but it’s still very topical. I especially related to his musing about what effect the “microbial cloud”, which physically covers each person, may have on the progression of autoimmune diseases such as T1 diabetes. He suggests that an imbalance in the microbial community could cause a miscommunication in a person’s immune response and possibly kick off an autoimmune reaction that ultimately kills the insulin producing beta cells. I would add that immune responses probably vary from one person to another, adding another level of complexity to this interaction and outcome. Anyhow, take a look, if you haven’t already…but watch out for the poo tea.


About Jennifer Stearns

Farncombe Family Chair in Microbial Ecology and Bioinformatics and Assistant Professor at McMaster University
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