evolutionary biology

Episode 2: All things microbiome with Dr. Jonathan Eisen

The second episode of The Microbiome Podcast features a conversation with Dr. Jonathan Eisen of University of California, Davis.

In this episode William and David discuss two recent stories in the news:

  • (:44) A study out of Sweden that correlates hand washing dishes to lower levels of allergies in children. Read more from the blog.
  • (1:49) A study that found emulsifiers, a common additive in food, leads to obesity, colitis, and other inflammatory diseases. Read more from the blog.

During the interview with Dr. Eisen they discussed:

  • (3:50) The research that Dr. Eisen focuses on in his own laboratory, the evolution of microbes using DNA sequencing of individual microbes and communities of microbes. Read about Jonathan’s research and laboratory.
  • (4:52) The Earth Microbiome Project, a project led by Dr. Rob Knight and Dr. Jack Gilbert that is looking to sequence millions of microbial communities from around the world. Read more about the Earth Microbiome Project
  • (7:05) Research on the microbial communities on the International Space Station. Read a post by Jonathan on this project
  • (7:39) Research on the microbiome of animals that focuses on pet health, including research on kittens and the microbiome of dogs’ mouths. The Kitten Microbiome.
  • (8:53) Research out of Dr. Eisen’s lab that studied the microbes that are on food and the impact this may have on colonization of the microbiome in humans. Read our blog post from a few months ago about this research.
  • (13:30) Probiotics, the efficacy of probiotics, and risks and problems of the probiotic industry.
  • (15:48) Dr. Eisen’s “Overselling the microbiome” award, why he started it, and a recent awardee. We discuss the risks when doctors claim they can cure things with microbiome science that are unproven. Read about the award.
  • (23:00) Open science and open access publishing and Dr. Eisen’s connection to the Public Library of Science (PLOS). Read about PLoS.
  • (25:58) Women in science and ways to overcome existing disparities.  
  • (31:30) Symbiota, a plant microbiome company in Boston that Dr. Eisen serves as an advisor for. Read about Symbiota.
  • (34:48) How Dr. Eisen got into science.
  • (38:58) What is phylogenomics and how he invented the word.

And finally, (40:55) David and William discuss The Dress and if it is white and gold or black and blue.