Emory University | Woodruff Health Sciences Center
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Emory hosts microbiome symposium

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Jennifer Mulle, assistant professor of epidemiology, organized and chaired the first microbiome symposium at Emory in November. The goal of this novel symposium was to foster internal collaborations, generate grant proposals, and jump-start microbiome research at Emory.

While they are much smaller than our own cells, bacteria and other microbes in our bodies outnumber human cells by an estimate of 10 to one. The complexity of the diverse microbial communities that live within the human body is being revealed by an explosion of research interest, facilitated by next-generation sequencing technology.

The human microbiome is thought to influence not only digestive health, but also metabolic and autoimmune diseases and possibly psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. Beyond the human body, the microbiome is thought to be so fundamental to health and ecology that an international consortium of scientists has recently called for a global microbiome initiative.

The symposium featured speakers from various schools at Emory as well as from outside institutions. “We were able to attract an amazing lineup of speakers, and more than 260 people attended the event,” says Mulle. “This is an exciting time in microbiome research, and we were thrilled to showcase microbiome research at Emory."

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