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The Microbiome: Vital Cells of Existence

For every cell in your body, there’s another tiny single-celled creature that also calls your body home. Far from being germs we should eradicate, these ancient friends allow us to digest food, breathe air, and fight off disease. They were here long before us and will undoubtedly remain long after we’re gone. They are our microbiome, and after eons of cohabitation, we are finally getting to know one another better. Of course, we aren’t always the best of neighbors. Autoimmune diseases, allergies, depression, and Alzheimer’s may be diseases of an unhappy microbiome.

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The Microbiome: Vital Cells of Existence

For every cell in your body, there’s another tiny single-celled creature that also calls your body home. Far from being germs we should eradicate, these ancient friends allow us to digest food, breathe air, and fight off disease. They were here long before us and will undoubtedly remain long after we’re gone. They are our microbiome, and after eons of cohabitation, we are finally getting to know one another better. Of course, we aren’t always the best of neighbors. Autoimmune diseases, allergies, depression, and Alzheimer’s may be diseases of an unhappy microbiome.

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Moderator

Emily SenayPhysician Journalist

Emily Senay is a physician, medical and public health educator, broadcast journalist, and author. She is an assistant professor of Medicine in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a clinician in the World Trade Center Health Program in New York City.

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Participants

Martin BlaserPHYSICIAN

Martin Blaser is the Singer Professor of Medicine, Professor of Microbiology, and Director of the Human Microbiome Program at NYU School of Medicine. He served as Chair, Department of Medicine from 2000-2012. A physician and microbiologist, Dr. Blaser studies the relationships we have with our persistently colonizing bacteria.

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Rob KnightMicrobial Ecologist

Rob Knight is Professor of Pediatrics and Computer Science & Engineering and is Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at the University of California San Diego. He authored Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes.

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David RelmanMicrobiologist, Physician

David A. Relman, M.D., is the Thomas C. and Joan M. Merigan Professor in the Departments of Medicine, and of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University, and Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, California.

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Jo HandelsmanMicrobiologist

Jo Handelsman is the Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a Vilas Research Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. She is responsible for groundbreaking studies in microbial communication and work in the field of metagenomics.

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