Probiotics and the Human Microbiome (Biotechnology and Society)

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We will concentrate on discussing two examples where probiotic microbes could be used to modify the normal human microbiome, to prevent cavities and to "cure" obesity and related health conditions.

Required Reading

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  1. Jonathan Eisen TED Talk. "Meet your mIcrobes." April 2012 (15 min). [Eisen2012]
    Introduction to the human microbiome and probiotics.
    View on
  2. Zimmer, C. Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden. New York Times June 18, 2012. [Zimmer2012]
    Overview of recent microbiome studies.
    Article at NYT Human Microbiome Infographic
  3. Error fetching PMID 12369203: [Hillman2002]
    Review paper describing the initial development of a probiotic bacterial strain to prevent cavities.
  4. Error fetching PMID 23985869: [Fang2013]
    News and Views describing two studies of the relationship between obesity and the gut microbiota.
  5. Error fetching PMID 23985870: [LeChatelier2013]
    Research study linking microbial diversity in the gut to obesity associated diseases.
All Medline abstracts: PubMed | HubMed


  • Government regulatory agencies
  • Healthcare
  • Consumers
  • Industry Groups

Additional Resources

  1. Greenwood, V. "You Are Your Bacteria: How the Gut Microbiome Influences Health." Aug. 29, 2013 [Greenwood2013]
    Article on