Dr. Shannon J. Sirk ‘01 - Engineering Commensal Microbes


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The Spring 2018 Biology Seminar Series continues with Dr. Shannon J. Sirk’s talk, "Engineering Commensal Microbes."

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BIOLOGY SEMINARS | SPRING 2018

 

Dr. Shannon J. Sirk ‘01

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 

Engineering Commensal Microbes

 

The human body is a complex ecosystem supporting symbiotic relationships with thousands of microbial species. By some estimates, human commensal microbial cells outnumber human cells by a factor of ten and harbor three hundred times as many protein coding genes. Such symbiotic microorganisms are integral to the health and metabolism of not only humans, but also animals, insects, and plants. The ubiquity and importance of these commensal communities underscore their potential as an untapped reservoir of biological function and recent increased interest into commensal microbial species has led to countless insights in this field. Due to these efforts, the opportunity now exists to capitalize on our increasingly sophisticated understanding of the human microbiota and expand our efforts beyond characterization, toward engineering. Commensal microbes are already perfectly suited for safe and effective colonization of various physiological niches; what remains is to take advantage of their incredible genomic plasticity and ability to function as robust biochemical factories. Our research aims to engineer beneficial traits into commensal microorganisms to address unmet needs in human health.

 

Tuesday, April 17th

BioScience 113

11:45 a.m.

Email oasin@oxy.edu to sign up for lunch with the speaker after the seminar!

 

Sponsored by the Biology Department and the Remsen Bird Fund.

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