From the Human Microbiome Project to the Earth Microbiome Project

  • Speaker
  • Rob Knight, Ph.D.Wolfe Family Endowed Chair in Microbiome Research at Rady Children's
    Director, Center for Microbiome Innovation
    Professor of Pediatrics, Bioengineering and Computer Science & Engineering, University of California, San Diego
Date & Time

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The Human Microbiome Project drove an explosion of technologies aimed at understanding the vast array of microbes present throughout our bodies. The resulting ability to scale up DNA sequence data acquisition by a factor of millions brought new insight into the majority of our cells and our genes, in our microbiota and microbiomes respectively. It also revealed major surprises, such as the extent of variation among individuals in terms of the underlying species distributions, the constancy in terms of metabolic function, and the patterns of variation over time.

In this talk, Rob Knight will explore the challenges of applying these techniques to ecosystems across the planet to discover the connections among human, animal and environmental health. By understanding spatial and temporal dynamics of microbial ecosystems — and the relationships among them — researchers are poised to develop fundamentally new ways to picture and decipher health and disease.

About the Speaker

Knight is the founding director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation and a professor of pediatrics, bioengineering, and computer science & engineering at UC San Diego, where he is also the Wolfe Family Endowed Chair in Microbiome Research. Knight’s lab has produced many of the software tools and laboratory techniques that enabled high-throughput microbiome science, including QIIME and UniFrac. His work has linked microbes to a range of health conditions, enhanced our understanding of microbes in many environments, and made high-throughput sequencing accessible to thousands of researchers around the world.

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