Educating the Public About a Paradigm Shift in Human Health

Because of novel high throughput biology, our view of the role of microbes in human health has rapidly changed and even shifted paradigms in the past decade. Our old view of microbial interactions based on Koch's postulates and single microbe interactions with our bodies has changed to a more ecological one based on the microbiome. The microbiome is perhaps one of the most important genomics related changes to our understanding of human health. 

This talk will examine what the public knows about the microbiome obtained from a kiosk survey at the American Museum of Natural History of over 200,000 visitors. The talk will also describe The AMNH's efforts in exhibition, research and education to inform the public about the microbiome and its importance in human health.

Dr. DeSalle works in molecular systematics, microbial evolution, and genomics at the American Museum of Natural History. He not only enjoys teaching students, but also the public through exhibitions, on topics ranging from infectious disease to genomics. In his research, he hopes to provide a better understanding of microbial life and expand the number of names species of bacteria.