“Welcome to the Microbiome—It’s a Whole New You”
The Bell House (149 7th St., Brooklyn)
Say hello to your little friends—all 100 trillion of them. Each of us harbors about 1,000 microbial species in our noses, mouths, and guts; on our skin. Together, they weigh an astonishing 2 to 5 pounds. If you’re worried about the aliens within, don’t be. A torrent of new medical and genetic research shows that your microbiome is essential to your survival. These itty-bitty bugs help you metabolize food and build your immune system. They make vitamins and protect you from getting sick.
The director of NYU’s Human Microbiome Program, Dr. Martin Blaser is at the forefront of this new research on the jungle of microorganisms inside us. While medical science has traditionally focused on “bad” microbes—the germs that cause illness and how to eradicate them—Dr. Blaser and other pioneering researchers have flipped that idea inside-out, investigating good germs and their role in health and disease. He asks:
–How did the human microbiome evolve? Are we humans actually ecosystems, superorganisms, or symbionts?
— How does the widespread use of antibiotics affect our microbiota and our health?
–Why are birth and early life such important times for our microbiomes? Is the biodiversity of the human microbiome under threat?
–How are obesity, asthma, diabetes, and even mood swings linked to changes in our microbiota?
–Are new microbial medicines in our future?
Dr. Blaser is the George and Muriel Singer Professor of Medicine and Professor of Microbiology at NYU. A past president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, he is founder of the Foundation for Bacteriology and the Virtual Museum of Bacteria and was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2011. He currently chairs the Advisory Board for Clinical Research at the National Institutes of Health.
Before & After
–Try our bugged-out cocktail of the night, the Super Organism
–Wiggle to grooves that wriggle
–Stick around for the scintillating Q&A