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Title:Mining Microbial Gold
Author(s):Baldeon, Alexis
Subject(s):Gut Microbiome
Impact Diet
Abstract:From the day we are born, we as humans graciously host a massive collection of microorganisms in our gastrointestinal tracts, popularly known as the gut microbiome. In return, our microscopic guests help us stay healthy by maintaining the balance of several of our body’s systems. Thus, understanding the dynamics of this so-called “invisible organ” can reveal powerful targets for preventing and treating several diseases. My research investigates the impact diet has on our microbial friends. However, short of performing biopsies, endoscopies, and colonoscopies, it’s virtually impossible to study these microorganisms in their natural environment. Therefore, my experiments focus on analyzing the closest, albeit least attractive, alternative: fecal matter. This undigested waste material contains precious insights into our gut microbiome. My job, then, is to extract the metaphorical gold from its extremely unattractive ore. The vial in the image contains the golden extract of specific chemical compounds from a fecal sample that will help us better understand the health impact our dietary intervention has on the health of our participants. Similar to mining, it’s not a pretty job, but the results are of extreme value.
Issue Date:2021
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Alexis Baldeon
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-04-12

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