Around the microbiome in 30 minutes

Burnet Institute

02 January, 2019

Image: Professor Glda Tachedjian

Fecal transplants, bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted infections, and the adverse impact of dysbiotic gut microbiota on human health are not topics one might typically ruminate over lunch with friends.

But the human microbiome in all its glory was the subject of a highly entertaining, informative and accessible public presentation from Burnet Institute Head of Life Sciences, Professor Gilda Tachedjian to Burnet donors – over lunch – late in 2018.

Watch Professor Tachedjian’s presentation on the human microbiome

Professor Tachedjian took the audience on a fascinating 30-minute journey deep into …

  • The varied communities of bacteria, fungi and viruses that inhabit the different regions of our bodies
  • The different impacts of high- and low-fibre diets, and the modern western diet’s link with poor health outcomes
  • Research showing the adverse effects of probiotics on microbiota in people who had recently undergone antibiotic treatment
  • The association between a microbial imbalance and cancer, obesity and hypertension, and
  • The impact of bacterial vaginosis on susceptibility to HIV and increased risk of acquiring STIs.

Along the way, Professor Tachedjian explained …

  • We have more bacteria on our bodies (around 39 trillion), than human cells (30 trillion)
  • The ratio of genes provided by these bacteria compared to human genes is 150:1
  • Gut microbiota can weigh up to 2kg
  • Your body’s microbes would circle the earth 2.5 times if laid end to end, and
  • It’s estimated that 90 percent of disease can be linked in some way to the gut and the health of the microbiome.

“One of the things that keeps me up at night is how we can increase the impact of our work and access to vulnerable communities, and one of the areas we need to be developing is genomics, this idea about understanding the genetic basis of disease, and the microbiome comes under the genomics umbrella,” Professor Tachedjian said.

We commend this presentation to you and hope you enjoy it.

Contact Details

For more information in relation to this news article, please contact:

Professor Gilda Tachedjian

Head of Life Sciences; Head of Tachedjian Laboratory (Retroviral Biology and Antivirals)




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