Understanding the microbial ecosystem dynamics of our planet is central to our role as custodians of the planet. The Earth Microbiome Project aimed to characterize the microbial diversity of the diverse ecosystems across our world, which we have used to model the ecosystem dynamics of these environments. Integrating these models with agricultural policy provides a framework on which to determine how climate change and shifting policy will influence the microbial metabolic dynamics, which will affect our ability to modulate system scale outcomes. In concert with this global perspective we are also characterizing the human microbiome, which has become a key part of patient care, provide new avenues to diagnose and treat human disease. The immune system controls our interaction with the microbial world, and yet the microbial communities in our bodies are central to modulating the immune response. Changes in the human microbiome have substantial influence on atopy, neurological disorders, metabolic disorders, and a range of complex conditions and disease states. We will discuss evidence of these mechanisms of interaction and how we have started to disturb the delicate balance of the immune-microbe equilibrium, impacting the development and function of our immune systems. Central to this disturbance is the distance we have placed between our children and the microbial world, which has been demonstrated to have a substantial influence on their physiological, immunological, neurological and even endocrinological development. Applying new strategies to identify how the microbial ecosystem correlates with diseases states and treatment efficacy through Microbiome-Wide Association Studies (MWAS) is altering the trajectory of precision medicine, and providing a new framework for facilitating patient care.
1. Understand the microbial ecosystem dynamics of our planet
2. Learn how characterizing the human microbiome has become a key part of patient care
3. Discover new strategies to identify how the microbial ecosystem correlates with diseases states and treatment efficacy