Bugs ‘R Us: The Role of Microbes in Disease, Health and Society
On May 21, 2013, Dr. B. Brett Finlay, award-winning microbiologist, delivered the spring 2013 Wall Exchange and examined how bacteria live in the human body and help maintain good health. This talk, held at the Vogue Theatre in downtown Vancouver, explores new research on the role of the microbiota in health, mechanisms used by microbes to cause disease, and new approaches to counter infections, including potentially using the microbiota to prevent other diseases. The talk opened with The Oscar Hicks Jazz Sextet, with Dr. Finlay on the saxophone.
Abstract: The microbiota (also known as the normal flora of the human body) is comprised of thousands of species of microbes. Only recently have we begun to appreciate the role of these organisms in health, impacting on diarrhea, obesity, various bowel diseases, type I diabetes, asthma, and even brain development. In developed countries, we have gone to great lengths to minimize our exposure to microbes, both pathogenic and harmless. The Hygiene Hypothesis suggests that perhaps we have gone too far, as hominids have evolved in a sea of microbes, and actually need exposure to microbes early in life to develop normally.