Hello, my name is Professor Sheena Cruikshank,
I'm an Immunologist from
the University of Manchester and I'm going to be talking today about
immunology and the microbiome and some future perspectives in microbiome research.
The reason I think the microbiome is so interesting
is that the moment more than ever we are just being assaulted
with lots and lots of headlines and
information about the microbiome where it's being linked with
a whole host of things from health and happiness to our well-being, sleep, depression.
Everything is being linked to the microbiome and there's
a huge market and how to manipulate the microbiome with things
like probiotics market being worth billions and recipes to alter your microbiome in
some really extreme suggestions and
health sites as to what you can do to really change your microbiome.
But how much of this is fact,
how much of this is fiction,
and to really start to unpick that I think it's really important that we
start to understand what we mean by the microbiome.
There are two terms that are usually used when we're talking about the microbiome and
that is microbiota which tends to refer to
the species that are present in and on our bodies,
and the microbiome which refers to
the genetic content and that's
the way that I will try and use those terms throughout this talk.
When I talk about the microbiome,
what I'm referring to is the organisms that live
inside us and on us and these include yeast,
fungi, bacteria, and viruses and even a few parasites.
But at the moment we know the most about the bacteria that live inside us and on us
and it's been estimated that there are 38 trillion bacteria resident in us and on us.
So each of us has this huge community of bacteria.