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Dr. Gilbert studies microbes and recently examined an element of the bat microbiome.

In this podcast, he explains

  • what the size of a bat’s gut has to do with their different relationship with bacteria and what that implies about their evolution,
  • how humans and bacteria have coevolved, and 
  • why this information may help manipulate microbiomes to further our health.

Dr. Jack Gilbert is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California, San Diego.

He specializes in microbial ecology and recently published a paper specific to the bat microbiome. He explains what is significant and interesting about the ecology of the bat and bacteria, namely that unlike human animals, their short gut disallowed for coevolution with bacteria in the same manner as humans. Rather the microbes that live on bats depends on their external environment.  He explains more about how this is similar to birds and what the implications are.

He carries this into a larger picture of what goal scientists may have when studying microbial ecology. Dr. Gilbert and his colleagues would like to gain a closer understanding of how we can shape bacterial proportions by altering their food.

They are trying to understand how we can selectively choose the growth  of certain organisms by what we feed them—how we can change the course of a human infection by selectively promoting the growth of specific microbes that might make the human host less susceptible to the harm the infection causes.

For more, search research collections such as Google Scholar for his name and see his laboratory web site at http://www.gilbertlaboratory.com/

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