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Biostatistics seminar: “Causes and consequences of human gut microbiome composition”
January 16 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
“Causes and consequences of human gut microbiome composition” will be presented by Emily R. Davenport, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology, Penn State.
Billions of single-celled organisms colonize the human body. These microbes play important roles in human health and evolution, but researchers are only just starting to discover the factors that determine their composition. While environmental factors such as diet, antibiotic usage and method of birth clearly play a role, the influences of host genetics and microbial community dynamics remain unclear. To address these gaps, Davenport will discuss several studies she has led in these areas. First, examining both the microbiome and host genetics in the Hutterites and in twins living in the United Kingdom reveals that there is a heritable component to the microbiome. Follow-up with genome-wide association studies (GWAS) implicates host genetic variants in immune- and diet-related genes, including the variant responsible for lactose tolerance in European populations. Second, examining the co-occurrences of bacteria living in the guts of U.K. twins reveals disease-specific configurations of gut bacterial communities in humans. It’s not always the case that the microbiomes of healthy individuals are more connected or modular. These studies demonstrate that in addition to environmental factors, genetics and microbial community interactions are also important factors that determine human gut microbiome composition.
Light refreshments will be served.
In addition to the in-person presentation in the Academic Support Building on the College of Medicine campus in Hershey, Pa., participants may join by calling 929-205-6099, meeting ID 322 043 373 or via Zoom webinar.