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Science AMA Series: We are Jack Gilbert, Professor at the University of Chicago, and Mark Smith, founder of OpenBiome. We’re two scientists who study the human microbiome — Ask Us Anything about gut bacteria!
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The human microbiome is one of the most fascinating areas of science and medicine, and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface. Jack Gilbert is the Faculty Director at the Microbiome Center and a Professor at the University of Chicago; his research focuses mainly on microbial ecosystems, and in 2014, his thought experiment on a ‘World Without Microbes’ went viral in the microbiology community — Jack recently appeared in a video on the subject at https://youtu.be/80tPR5HH9Zo. In 2017, Jack co-authored the popular science book “Dirt is Good: The advantage of germs for your child’s developing immune system.” Mark Smith is a leader in the field of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation, or FMT — one of the most buzzworthy practices in bacterial research. In 2012, Mark founded the nonprofit OpenBiome to expand the study and application of fecal transplants to patients suffering from diseases like infection from Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, which kills tens of thousands of people in the US each year. He now serves as the CEO of Finch Therapeutics Group, a mission-driven microbiome engineering company pursuing the first FDA approved FMT product. Mark featured in a video on the topic of FMTs available at https://youtu.be/ZZxRp-f3ElY. As us anything about the microbiome and the study of gut bacteria!