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Dr. Sandrine Miller-Montgomery is the executive director of the UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation and professor in the department of bioengineering whose aim is to understand and foster microbiome diversity and develop technologies that leverage the findings in the exploding field of microbiome research. For years, microbes have been generally viewed as bad for health and as things to get rid of, but a growing body of research is showing that the microbiome is actually essential for the development of our immune systems and our overall health.

Dr. Miller-Montgomery delivers an intriguing overview of the role of the microbiome in everyday life, reminding us that for millions of years prior to humans showing up, the microbiome world was adapting, evolving, and developing an incredible diversity of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. She explains how the human immune system develops within the first three months of life and relies heavily upon the presence of microbes in the environment, and how shielding a child from the environment too much can actually result in illnesses and allergic reactions in adulthood. She also explains the type of work being done at the Center for Microbiome Innovation, where, rather than pinpoint a single focus on the microbiome and work in silos, over 130 scientists remain nimble in their research, sharing data, collaborating, and adapting their research to the evolution of our knowledge in the field.

The team has ongoing studies looking at the relationship between the microbiome and aging, schizophrenia, depression, diet, and more. Dr. Miller-Montgomery is a wealth of information, explaining the ins and outs of all of the above, and discussing the potential for the microbiome to serve as a biomarker for diagnosing, preventing, and treating disease. Visit https://cmi.ucsd.edu/ to learn more.

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