Science Pub Omsi

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Science Pub Omsi
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Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) says
The Microbiome: An Alien Organ Within the Human Body
with Hernan A. Lorenzi, PhD, assistant professor in the bioinformatics department at the J. Craig Venter Institute

For almost a century the human body has been conceived as a set of trillions of human cells organized into organs and systems that work synchronously to keep our body alive and free of germs. However, in the past few years it has become evident that in our quest to understand how the human body works we were missing one essential piece of the puzzle: a new organ composed of hundreds of trillions of microorganisms known as the human microbiome. This huge collection of microbes performs many vital functions helping us to fight diseases, participating in the processing and synthesis of essential nutrients and even controlling our behavior. In this talk Lorenzi will present what we currently know about the role of the human microbiome in health and disease, how it is inherited from our parents and varies across individuals and how it can be used as a therapeutic tool.

Hernan Lorenzi is an Assistant Professor in the Bioinformatics Department at the J. Craig Venter Institute. His research focus is on the structural and functional annotation of eukaryotic and viral genomes as well as metagenomic samples, comparative genomics and genome evolution. Dr. Lorenzi has led the annotation and analysis of several NIAID-funded Microbial Sequencing Center projects and is is currently the Project Leader of two NIAID-funded Genome Sequencing Center projects: a project to sequence and analyze the genomes of 63 Toxoplasma gondii strains plus two related organisms, Hammondia hammondi and Gregarina niphandrodes, and a second project to sequence 400 strains of Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human Metapneumovirus, and Human Parainfluenza Virus 1 and 3. In 2011 he was awarded a grant from NASA to investigate how long-term space travel affects the biodiversity of the population of microorganisms that inhabit inside and outside the body of astronauts (microbiome). Dr. Lorenzi received his Ph.D. in Parasite Genomics and Molecular Biology from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina in 2001, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University.
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By: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

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