This past summer, I volunteered in a Physiology lab at Michigan State University, where I tested the effects that certain bacterial strain has on the inflammatory genes in the large intestine. When I was performing this experiment, I did not have much background knowledge on what the microbiome really was and the intricacies of it.

After leaving the lab in August, I realized that the microbiome is actually an extremely interesting field that can be an area of interest for me during my undergraduate years. That is the reason why I chose to research microbiology a week and a half ago.

When I started. the most I knew was that there is a microbial community living inside every human and it either helps us or harms us. After reading different articles, and interpreting data from various experiments, I’ve been able to gain insight on how the microbiome functions, and how it affects each person.

The first step in my research was to read informative articles aimed to the general public that explained the microbiome in detail; they explained some common strains of bacteria that reside in us, and how they affect us on a macroscopic level. After gaining a deeper understanding, I decided it was time to read some articles published professionally to see what kind of research was being done in this field.

The articles mention how abnormal microbiomes lead to cancer, obesity, diabetes, and they also mention how one can modify their microbiome by taking probiotics. One of the articles talks about how our use of antibiotics as a treatment can actually be harming the bacterial population inside us.

Reading these articles has helped me understand the enormous role that the microbiome plays in our lives, and that not many people are caring about it. I want to, in my paper, highlight the importances of the microbiome and show people the research that’s being done with it, and why it’s important.

I hope to schedule an interview with a microbiology professor at Michigan State University and ask him/her what their opinion is on why people aren’t caring much about the microbiome and what they can do to make it a more prevalent part in their lives.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have really enjoyed reading about the microbiome and I’ve even developed a clear direction for my paper: I want to show people why the microbiome is important and what they can do to think about it when they make daily choices regarding diet or exercise.

The articles I have collected so far talk about experiments that were done regarding diet and antibiotics. In the next couple of days, I hope to collect studies done involving the relation between exercise and the microbiome.

Image Credits:

CC BY-SA 4.0 Research on the Microbiome by Sid is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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