Microbiome Madness!


By Nina Gao

Podcasts are now a popular medium to spread information, and there are many cool podcasts made for the science-curious mind. Here at the BMS Times, we are kicking off a new series featuring biomedical research.

This week, we’re checking out the microbiome with an episode of “n equals one”, a podcast put together by the UC San Diego Health communications team.

As any microbiologist can tell you, there are trillions of microorganisms living on each human being! Collectively, they are referred to as the “microbiome”. Studying microbiomes is a currently a hot field of biomedical research. A quick search into recent biomedical literature shows that the microbiome has been correlated to just about everything, from health benefits of chocolate[1] to devastating Clostridium difficile infections[2].

At UC San Diego, we are lucky to house a world leader in microbiome research: Dr. Rob Knight. Recently, the UCSD Health podcast “n equals one” featured the Knight lab.


Rob Knight is no stranger to the advocacy of microbiome research. His 2014 TED talk (see below) is a great introduction to the curious world of microbiome research. Shortly after Rob Knight’s recruitment to San Diego in 2015, Chancellor Pradeep Khosla announced the UC San Diego Microbiome and Microbial Sciences Initiative, establishing UCSD as a world-class, interdisciplinary institute for microbiome research, with Drs. Rob Knight and Kit Pogliano at the helm. And if that wasn’t big enough news, just last month, President Barack Obama unveiled the “National Microbiome Initiative”, investing $12 million in research at UC San Diego alone.


So can the bacteria in our gut really affect our behavior and actions? Can we leave a traceable microbial “fingerprint” whenever we touch an object? We still have much to learn about how microorganisms can affect our lives, but expect to hear more in the coming years from the labs at UC San Diego. It’s an exciting time for biomedical research in microbes, so stay tuned!

Like what you hear? Check out the official webpage for “n equals one” podcast for more! Got some fun, science podcasts that you think needs to be heard? Any topics you’d like to bring up and discuss? Let us know! You may see a post feature in the future!



[1] Hayek N. Chocolate, gut microbiota, and human health. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2013;4:11. doi:10.3389/fphar.2013.00011.

[2] Zanella Terrier MC, Simonet ML, Bichard P, Frossard JL. Recurrent Clostridium difficile infections: The importance of the intestinal microbiota. World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG. 2014;20(23):7416-7423. doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i23.7416.