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Hein Min Tun, PhD, is a public health veterinarian and researcher who is currently leading research efforts at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health.

He discusses the details of his work, including the following:

  • What methods are used by bacteria in order to resist antibiotics
  • How changes in gut microbial communities are correlated with the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the gut
  • What factors might influence microbiome development trajectories during the first three years of life
  • How the gut microbiome may be affected by the health of the mother and the way in which the child is birthed (i.e. vaginally v. C-section)

After obtaining his PhD at the University of Hong Kong, Dr. Hein Min Tun conducted post-doctoral research on the microbiome and resistome in food animals, humans, and the environment at the Gut Microbiome Laboratory of the University of Manitoba. Following that, he joined the team at SyMBIOTA, where he studied gut microbiota during infancy.

His latest work has two main focuses: understanding how the gut microbiome is related to the colonization of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and what early microbiome development might reveal about the characterization of “healthy” microbiomes. He is the head of a team of researchers at the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health who aim to investigate these topics.

With the use of several statistical and machine learning approaches, Dr. Tun is analyzing population data on different cohorts of infants in order to tease out what factors are at play in the development of early microbiome trajectories and disease outcomes. For example, how does the health of the mother affect the health of the baby? How does the gut microbiome differ between a baby born vaginally and by cesarean section?

Does exposure to chemicals or toxins in the environment influence the development of the microbiome? These are just a few of the questions Dr. Tun and his team are exploring. On today’s podcast, he shares what they’ve discovered thus far, which areas need the most attention, and what’s on the horizon for the field of microbiome research in general.

Learn more and view Dr. Tun’s publications at https://sph.hku.hk/en/about-us/faculty-and-staff/academic-related-staff/tun,-hein-min.

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