Episode 1: The Human Microbiome is available for purchase and to rent via this link.  For other inquiries, please reach out to us via the email address below.

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Kenneth Simpson

Kenny graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh University, in 1984, and gained a Ph.D in gastroenterology at the University of Leicester in 1988. He hopped the pond for an internship at the University of Pennsylvania (1989), and residency in small animal medicine at THE Ohio State University (1991), then hopped back as a lecturer at the other Royal Veterinary College. He fled the hostile climes of Londinium in 1995 to join the faculty at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. He is a Diplomate of the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Internal Medicine and is currently Chief of the Section of Small Animal Internal Medicine at Cornell. He is a recipient of the National Phi Zeta and Pfizer awards for research, and a past-president of the comparative gastroenterology society.His research interests are centered below the diaphragm, with a focus on inflammatory diseases of the GI tract (including the pancreas and liver), host bacterial interactions in health and disease, and culture independent bacteriology.

James Lawler is the founder and creative director of Osmosis Films. James produced the Academy Award short-listed film “The Lottery," ESPN’s “30-for-30" documentary “Fernando Nation,” and many other projects for television, theater, and film. The Edge of Wonder is the best excuse he has come up with yet to marry a life-long passion for math and science with filmmaking.

James Lawler

Rodney Dietert, Ph.D. is an internationally-known author, lecturer, scientist, media personality and educator. He received the BS degree in Zoology from Duke University in 1974 and his PhD from University of Texas at Austin in 1977. He has turned his wide-ranging expertise toward reducing the environmental health risks of children and protecting against chronic diseases by focusing on the microbiome and the immune system. As a full professor at Cornell University in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and a faculty member in the Cornell Institute for Comparative and Environment Toxicology, Dr. Dietert has published peer-reviewed papers in more than 70 different scientific journals ranging from environmental health and pediatric medicine publications to nutrition, metabolism, immune, neurological and reproductive journals. He has been President of the Immunotoxicology Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology and previously led Cornell's programs in immunology, toxicology and risk reduction of breast cancer. In 2012 Dr. Dietert introduced a new course at Cornell applying contemplative tools for creative problem solving. This has blossomed into a variety of new educational programs and workshops.

Rodney Dietert

Ilana Brito graduated with a Ph.D. in genetics from MIT and then a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. She uses systems biology approaches to study the transmission of bacterial and genetic components of the human microbiome. As an undergraduate at Harvard University, she double majored in Biology and Government. Given her long-standing interest in infectious disease, she traveled abroad to perform field and lab research on malaria in Mali. She then earned a PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Genetics. She received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Earth Institute at Columbia University where she began studying the transmission of viral pathogens and emerging infectious disease. Ultimately, she shifted her focus to the transmission of the multitude of bacteria inhabiting the human body. To this end, she launched a large field research project in the Fiji Islands. In Eric Alm's lab at MIT, she developed methods to examine signatures of transmission in metagenomic whole genome shotgun sequencing data. She has worked with the Broad Institute and the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies.

Ilana Brito

Rob Knight (born 1976 in Dunedin, New Zealand), is a professor at the University of California, San Diego and the co-founder of the American Gut Project. Knight completed a BSc in biochemistry at the University of Otago and a Ph.D at Princeton University on the Origin and Evolution of the Genetic Code in 2001. Until 2014, he was a professor at the University of Colorado – Boulder. He is also a co-founder of the Earth Microbiome Project. His lab's research involves the development of laboratory and computational techniques to characterize the microbiomes of humans, animals, and the environment. He did an IAmA on reddit and also taught a microbiome course on Coursera. He gave a TED Talk in 2014 on the role microbes play on our health. Later this idea was expanded into the book Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes, written with science journalist Brendan Buhler and published by Simon & Schuster. In 2015, he received the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science.

Rob Knight

Martin J. Blaser is the Muriel G. and George W. Singer Professor of Translational Medicine, Director of the NYU Human Microbiome Program, former Chair of the Department of Medicine, and Professor of Microbiology at New York University School of Medicine. In 2013 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is an established researcher in microbiology and infectious diseases. Blaser's work has focused on Helicobacter pylori, Campylobacter species, Salmonella Bacillus anthracis, and more recently on the human microbiome. Blaser is the title author of a book for general audiences, Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues, about the degradation of human's internal microbial ecosystem as a result of modern medical practices.

Martin Blaser

Dr Alverdy is the Sarah and Harold Lincoln Thompson Professor of Surgery and Executive Vice-Chair of the department of surgery at the University of Chicago. Dr Alverdy is the director of the Center for Surgical Infection Research at the University of Chicago that studies the microbial pathogenesis of infections that develop following surgery including sepsis, wound infection, and anastomotic leak. He has been funded by the NIH for this work since 1999. He is the co-PI on a T32 training grant and has trained over 30 postdoctoral fellows in his laboratory over the last 25 years. Dr Alverdy is the co-director of the Digestive Disease Research Center Core (DDRCC- Eugene Chang MD Director) and a fellow of the Institute of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. He is the current president of the Surgical Infection Society North America. Dr Alverdy attended medical school at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara and Loyola University and received his surgical training at the Michael Reese Hospital/University of Chicago. He completed a surgical research fellowship at the University of California San Francisco. Dr Alverdy has an active gastrointestinal surgery practice involving minimally invasive surgery of the foregut including esophagus, stomach and pancreatobiliary tree. 

John Alverdy

Jack Gilbert is the Faculty Director of the Microbiome Center, a Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago Medicine, Senior Scientist (Adjunct) at Marine Biological Laboratory, and Group Leader in Microbial Ecology at Argonne National Laboratory. Gilbert's research is focused on the ecology, evolution, and metabolic dynamics of microbial ecosystems from myriad environments including built environments, oceans, rivers, soils, air, plants, animals, and humans. His primary interest is in using omics technologies (metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metabolomics) to capture longitudinal dynamics in microbial ecosystems and then model how these interactions relate the environmental variables, be those variables disease onset and immunology in humans or chemical transformations in plants and soils. Gilbert is developing unifying principles which govern how microbial communities assemble. He founded the Earth Microbiome Project, and co-founded the American Gut Project, and is the editor-in-chief of the journal mSystems.

Jack Gilbert

Claire M. Fraser PhD is an American microbiologist who launched a new field of study, microbial genomics, and through her research and leadership in this field, has contributed to understanding of the diversity and evolution of microbial life on Earth. Fraser received her B.S. degree in Biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1977 and her Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1981. She was inducted into Rensselaer's Alumni Hall of Fame in 2011. Her current research interests center on the structure and function of the human gut microbiota. Dr. Fraser has authored more than 320 scientific publications, edited three books, and has served on committees of the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, and National Institutes of Health. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Promega Biotechnology Award and the E.O. Lawrence Award from the Department of Energy. Dr. Fraser uses her skills and position of leadership in genome sciences to improve the lives of women throughout the world.

Claire Fraser
Norman Thomas Uphoff

Dr. Norman T. Uphoff is Professor of Government and International Agriculture at Cornell University. He has been a faculty member at Cornell since 1970. Professor Uphoff currently holds the position of Program Leader for Sustainable Rice Systems, in the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD). He served as CIIFAD’s first director, from 1990 to 2005. He has published extensively on issues related to Participatory Development; Irrigation Management; Natural Resource Management and Sustainable Development; Agroecology, Ecoagriculture and Sustainable Agriculture; Food Security, Poverty and Environmental Issues, among others. Most of his current work focuses on The System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which was developed in Madagascar some 25 years ago. Over the past 10 years, Professor Uphoff has made over 165 presentations on SRI and agroecology in 37 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America.

Geoffrey von Maltzahn, Ph.D. is an American biological engineer, inventor, and entrepreneur in biotechnology and nanotechnology. Von Maltzahn is partner at Flagship Pioneering and founder of multiple companies including Seres Therapeutics, Axcella, Indigo, Sienna Labs, and Nanopartz. His work focuses on creating technologies to address challenges in global health and sustainability. Von Maltzahn’s inventions have been profiled by the Economist, Scientific American, Popular Science, and Planet Green. His work has been recognized with multiple awards, including the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, given to the most innovative student at MIT. Under the advisory guidance of MIT Professor Sangeeta N. Bhatia, he developed engineered therapeutics (nanoparticles and proteins) and designed a method for highly-parallel, mass spectrometric in vivo enzyme profiling using mass-coded nanoparticle libraries.

Geoff Von Maltzahn

Dr. Richard S. Blumberg, M.D., is Founder of Biogen Idec Hemophilia Inc. and serves as its Scientific Advisor. Dr. Blumberg is a Scientific Founder of Syntimmune, Inc. Dr. Blumberg is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Gastroenterology Division at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. In addition, Dr. Blumberg is Director of Gastroenterology Research and Director of the Laboratory of Mucosal Immunology at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Blumberg serves as a Director of Biogen Idec Hemophilia Inc. and Syntimmune, Inc. He is Co-Director of the Harvard Digestive Diseases Center and a former member of the Immunological Sciences Study Section of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Blumberg is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and Association of American Physicians and is Chair of the Immunology and Microbiology Section of the American Gastroenterological Association. He holds board certifications in Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Gastroenterology following fellowship training at Cornell University Medical College and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Blumberg received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Carnegie-Mellon University, an M.D. from Jefferson Medical College and an M.B.A from Northeastern University.

Richard Blumberg

Alessio Fasano is an Italian medical doctor, pediatric gastroenterologist and researcher. He holds the W. Allan Walker Chair of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Furthermore, he is Vice Chair of Basic, Translational, and Clinical Research and Division Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston. He has made major contributions to the understanding of autoimmune diseases, in particular celiac disease. After completion of his studies and training as pediatric gastroenterologist at the University of Naples, Fasano joined the University of Maryland in 1993. In 1996, he founded the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; the center became part of the Massachusetts General Hospital in 2013.,In 2000, the research team of Alessio Fasano discovered zonulin, which regulates the intestinal permeability. In 2003, he published the results of the epidemiological study that demonstrated the prevalence of celiac disease in the U.S. to be far higher than previously thought, at a rate of 1 in 133 persons. His work covers, among others, the pathophysiology of coeliac disease and gluten sensitivity as well as of diabetes mellitus type 1. He has authored more than 240 peer-reviewed journal publications and has also been featured in numerous journals and magazines for the general public.

Alessio Fasano
Curtis Huttenhower

Curtis Huttenhower is Associate Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics in the Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Harvard University. Huttenhower gained his BS from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in 2000, where he majored in computer science, chemistry and mathematics. Huttenhower joined the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2009 as an assistant professor of computational biology and bioinformatics, becoming an associate professor in 2013. Huttenhower's lab worked extensively with the NIH Human Microbiome Project (HMP) to identify and characterise the microorganisms found in association with both healthy and diseased humans. As of 2015, he co-leads one of the follow-up 'HMP2' Centers for Characterizing the Gut Microbial Ecosystem in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Forest Rohwer is an American microbial ecologist and Professor of Biology at San Diego State University. His particular interests include

coral reef microbial ecology and viruses as both evolutionary agents and opportunistic pathogens in various environments. Being a marine microbial ecologist, Dr. Forest Rohwer sees a coral reef as a finely-tuned community in which the microbes and viruses are major players. Recognizing their importance, he pioneered the use of metagenomics as a means to characterize these previously inscrutable organisms and to investigate their role in coral reef health and disease. For his scientific contributions, he has received numerous awards including the prestigious Young Investigators Award of the International Society of Microbial Ecology and the Marine Microbiology Initiative Investigator Award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Forest Rohwer

Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Division of Translational Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the New York University Langone Medical Center. She also holds appointments as a Professor at the University of Puerto Rico and at the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research. She is the winner of the Roi Baudouin Award given by the International Foundation for Science, and the Medal of Merit given by the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research. She is also a fellow at the Infectious disease society of America and a fellow at the American Academy of Microbiology. Her research is focused on how modern practices in Western lifestyles impact the microbiome, and its differences with traditional societies' microbiomes.

Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello

Maureen R. Hanson is Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics. She received a B.S. degree at Duke University and a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University. After completing an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, she joined the faculty of the Biology Department at University of Virginia. She moved to Cornell as Associate Professor and was promoted to Professor in 1991. She is presently a member of the graduate Fields of Genetics and Development, Plant Biology, and Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cell Biology. She has previously served as Associate Director of the Cornell Biotechnology Program and Director of the Cornell Plant Science Center.

Maureen Hanson
Maureen Hanson

Sarkis Mazmanian is a medical microbiologist. He has been employed at the California Institute of Technology since 2006, and is currently the Louis & Nelly Soux Professor of Microbiology in the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering. Before his current position, he was associated with the University of Chicago and Harvard Medical School. In 2012, Mazmanian was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for his pioneering work on the human microbiome. Mazmanian's research investigates the symbiotic relationship between beneficial bacteria and their hosts. In seminal work, Mazmanian discovered the first microbial molecule that has direct beneficial effects on mammals. His laboratory revealed that the gut microbiome impacts autoimmune diseases such as experimental multiple sclerosis.

Sarkis Mazmanian

Wendy Garrett is a Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard Medical School. The Garrett Lab is interested in defining the dynamic interactions between the mucosal immune system and gut microbiota. Our experimental questions are grounded in understanding how interactions between intestinal microbial communities and the immune system contribute to the pathophysiology of both inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer. Our lab uses a variety of genomic, cellular and molecular techniques as well as germ-free, gnotobiotic and conventional mouse models to investigate gut microbial communities, mucosal immune cell subsets, and their contribution to the development of inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.

Wendy Garrett
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