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Trust Your Gut: A Microbial View of Human Development– The Gut Microbiota and Childhood Undernutrition

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 @ 7:30 PM-9:00 PM


Featured Speaker: Jeffrey I Gordon, M.D., Academy Fellow and 2012 Peter H. Raven Outstanding St. Louis Scientist Lifetime Award recipient; Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor of Pathology/Immunology, and Director, Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University School of Medicine

Studies of the vast collection of microbes that colonized our bodies are allowing us to see ourselves as intimately connected with the microbial world. Integrating microbes into our concept of “self” is changing our views of human postnatal development, of the legacy of our connections to family and environment, and of our individuality.  These studies are prompting us to consider another dimension to our human biology – one involving our microbial communities (microbiota) and their genes (microbiomes), and one that focuses on the microbial consequences of our changing cultural traditions, including globalization.

We are witnessing dramatic alterations in how and what we eat. At the same time, we are experiencing rapid expansion of our human population and great challenges related to sustainable agriculture. The coalescence of these forces is creating a need for sustained innovation in identifying affordable new food sources and new highly nutritious foods.

Studies of the human gut microbiome are beginning to have a disruptive effect on our views of human nutrition. Research platforms are being implemented to determine the effects on the gut microbiome of existing foods, or those we envision creating; and, reciprocally, the effects of the microbiome on the biotransformation of these foods. Deeper knowledge of the interrelationship between the foods we consume and the properties of our gut microbial communities should better inform the way we define our nutritional needs and status, emphasizing in new ways how foods are directly linked to human health.

Academy Fellow, Dr. Jeffrey Gordon illustrates these points through studies of the assembly and dynamic operations of gut communities in infants and children representing diverse geographic, cultural and socio-economic conditions. The results are revealing how functional maturation of the microbiome is related to healthy growth and how disruption of the proper development of the microbiota/microbiome is causally related to childhood undernutrition. Research in this area is helping to usher in a new era of microbiome-directed therapeutics.

FREE and OPEN to ALL.  Middle and high school students welcome!  Check with your teacher, you may be able to attend for extra credit!  Proof of attendance available following the presentation.

Parking is free in the Zoo’s North Lot.




Presented in partnership with:



Wednesday, March 4, 2015
7:30 PM-9:00 PM
Event Category:


Saint Louis Zoo
1 Government Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110 United States
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