Exploring and Managing Earth’s Microbiome

Exploring and Managing Earth’s Microbiome

J3) Exploring and Managing Earth’s Microbiome

Moderator: Bryn Nelson
Organizer: Bob Sanders


Cheap DNA sequencing has transformed the field of biology, revealing everything from the genetic drivers of cancer to the keys to human evolution. Today, scientists can even afford to sequence all the genes in a drop of water and use high-powered computing to assemble the genomes of every organism in that drop. This so-called metagenomic sequencing is changing how we view life on the planet and our own bodies, as scientists turn up organisms that we never knew existed, expanding our view of how organisms and whole ecosystems work. Last year, the federal government initiated the National Microbiome Initiative to advance our understanding of microbiomes and their influence on human health, climate change, food security and national security.

Three leading experts in the field of microbiome studies will discuss today’s revolutionary new view of environmental microbial communities. They’ll explore how Earth’s diverse communities can colonize subsurface environments or the human gut, how microbial molecules may collaborate in tropical rainforests to influence carbon sequestration amid a changing climate, and how we can monitor and manipulate microbiomes to improve the environment – and our own health.