Jeff Gordon, The “Father of the Microbiome” On The Promises and Challenges of the Microbiome in Precision Medicine

Professor Dr. Jeff Gordon (Washington University)
The “Father of the Microbiome”:

“Our microbial symbionts are master biological chemists: they ‘know’, how to manipulate our systems and subsystems. Therefore, our microbial communities, their citizens, and their products offer opportunities to develop new diagnostic tests, and discover new therapeutic targets and agents.”

The microbiome significantly impacts human health, playing a crucial role in maintaining health and preventing disease. It influences endocrinology, physiology, and even neurology, altering the outcome of many different disease states, and it has been shown to augment drug responses and tolerance. In parallel to your normal microbiota, headlining pathogens are grabbing our attention, as we seem to face a major epidemic or viral outbreak of some sort each year, whether it is Zika, Ebola, or the Coronavirus MERS-CoV. The ever-increasing human population, global travel on a scale never seen before, and a closer proximity of humans to wild life habitats are all contributors to this observed trend, the impact of which is continuously increasing.

We had a chance to sit down with Dr. Jeff Gordon (Washington University) who shared his views on the importance of the microbiome in precision medicine and much more. Find the full interview on PMWC blog post.

“While the opportunities for learning are great, the challenges we as a field face with development of informative microbiota-directed diagnostics and precision microbiota-directed therapeutics are formidible. Nonetheless the seemingly insurmountable is being surmounted by a number of groups, and substantial progress is being made.”

The September 24-25th PMWC 2018 Duke conference has several exciting talks scheduled that focus on Microbiome-Based Healthcare Applications.

A keynote by Dr. Jeff Gordon (Washington University)
PMWC 2018 Duke Pioneer Award Honoree:
Dr. Gordon is an international pioneer in the study of gut microbial ecology and evolution, using innovative methods to interpret metagenomic and gut microbial genomic sequencing data. These days Dr. Gordon’s research focuses on addressing the global health challenges of obesity and childhood undernutrition through new understanding of the interactions between diets and the gut microbiome, and new ways of promoting healthy development of the gut community during the first years of life.

A talk by Dr. Rita Colwell (University of Maryland) on the Gut Microbiome and Wellness:
Dr. Colwell is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland and at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Colwell’s research interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water, and health. Dr. Colwell is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including access to safe drinking water in both the developed and developing world.

A talk by Dr. Lawrence David (Duke University):
Dr. David is an Assistant Professor in Genomic and Computational Biology and the Dept. of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology at Duke University. His lab develops computational and engineering tools for manipulating human-associated bacterial communities. The David Lab is particularly interested in how commensal microbes help resist, and ultimately respond to colonization by human pathogens. An active area of research is the longitudinal study of cholera infections among residents of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Talks on Pathogen Identification & Combating Outbreaks:
We will also hear from a number of commercial entities who are active in this space  including CosmosID (CEO, Manoj Dadlani) and Siolta Therapeutics (Founder & CSO Dr. Nikole Kimes). These companies are building key technology solutions needed to confront some of the challenges associated with the combat of pathogen outbreaks, solutions for pathogen identification, and working toward increasing our understanding of the microbiome.

This is your chance to join an important discussion with leading experts and learn about the importance of the human microbiome and its impact on precision medicine, recent advances in pathogen identification, and innovations to control and/or respond quickly to pathogen outbreaks.

Looking forward to welcoming many of you at the wonderful Washington Duke Inn for PMWC 2018 Duke, September 24-25.

Tal Behar & the PMWC Team