Microbiologists have known for quite some time that we encounter microbes everywhere, all the time, and that often includes fecal microbes too. For 200 years, since germs were first associated with infectious diseases, we have all learned to fear and get rid of them. But it is until very recently that we begin to understand how important microbes are for our health, especially when we are children. As part of the International Microbiome Center at the Cumming School of Medicine of the University of Calgary, our lab is interested in understanding how humans begin their life in the company of trillions of microbes — our early-life microbiome, and how this microbiome helps define important aspects of immune and metabolic development.
Our lab's approach to tackle these complex questions is to combine next generation microbiome sequencing data with metabolic and immune studies in both humans and animal models of diseases, such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease.