Specializing in translating microbial data into more digestible maps, University of California in San Diego scientist Rob Knight PhD spoke at two conferences IPA attended in the last few weeks.
At the Harvard Probiotic Symposium 2106, Knight addressed the “Influence of the Microbiome on Body Weight Regulation.”
Knight reviewed the studies in mice which support a microbial influence on obesity development and response to weight reduction. Further studies will highlight how a similar mechanism may impact humans.
And in La Jolla near San Diego, minutes from his lab, Knight gave a keynote speech at the Global Engage conference: From the Human Microbiome Project to the Earth Microbiome Project.
Mapping microbes is his specialty. Plunging costs in sequencing technology have allowed crowdsourcing of microbes in the American Gut Project.
The American Gut Project, an Earth Microbiome Project study co-founded by Dr. Rob Knight and Jeff Leach, is the world’s largest crowd-funded citizen science project in existence.
With $99 kits, individuals offer fecal samples for analysis, data which is integrated into temporal and spatial algorithms. The mapped results, while resembling Etch-a Sketch scenes, speak volumes about microbes. Knight merges his data with results from the Earth Microbiome Project which takes satellite imaging and predicts how microbes are changing our environment.
IPA is looking forward to Dr. Knight’s next act as he incites the microbial revolution to bring potent applications against disease.