I'm really thankful to have been hosted today at Vanderbilt University by Dr. Mariana Byndloss and all her wonderful lab colleagues. The BYNDLOSS LAB is mainly addressing three questions:
1. How does the microbial imbalance induced by high-fat diets promote increased risk for heart disease?
2. How does antibiotic exposure early in life contribute to prolonged gut microbial imbalance and increased risk of weight gain?
3. Can we prevent the "bloom" of colon cancer associated bacteria?
Additionally, Andy Brooks showed me around his lab, led by Dr. Seth Bordenstein, Director of the Vanderbilt Microbiome Initiative. The BORDENSTEIN LAB focuses on the following inquiries:
1. What is the impact of ethnicity and diet on human microbiome variation and health disparities?
2. How might the global presence of a bacteria called Wolbachia that infects most insects represent a major mosquito control strategy?
3. How do animals form mutually beneficial relationships with microbial communities?
4. How did life progress from one species to many millions, and do microbes impact the origin of new animal species?
5. What is the future of science education for high schools, colleges, and citizen scientists (like members of halfhuman.org), and how can local communities participate in discovery-based research to learn biology and hands-on biotechnology?
I owe both Dr. Byndloss and Andy big-time for allowing me to intrude on their workdays!
Dr. Byndloss (red) and colleagues