Humans & the Microbiome
How do microbes that live in and on us affect our health, development and even behaviour?
Microorganisms cover our skin and fill our guts. These bacteria, viruses and fungi – collectively called the human microbiome – were until recently only considered interesting if they led to disease.
But a growing body of research shows that a properly functioning microbiome has tremendous impact on human health. For instance, the ability to maintain a healthy weight is probably influenced significantly by the microbiota in your gut. A mother’s microbiome could affect the healthy development of her fetus’s brain. And researchers are learning about the effects of colonization on human groups by examining the microbes in dental tartar of human remains in West Africa.
This program brings anthropologists, biologists and other scholars together to provide biocultural context to host-microbiome interactions. They’re asking new questions about what aspects of individual and societal behaviour are critical to understanding the role of the microbiome in human health and development.
By gaining a complete picture of the relationship between the microbiome and human culture and biology, CIFAR’s Humans & the Microbiome team will open up new understanding of the roots of disease, issues of early development, our susceptibility to future pandemics, and even human behaviour.
Path to Societal Impact
We invite experts in industry, civil society, healthcare and government to join fellows in our Humans & the Microbiome program for in-depth, cross-sectoral conversations that drive change and innovation.
Leaders from public health schools and CIFAR fellows in the Humans & the Microbiome program are working together to develop new public health curricula.
Areas of focus:
- Integrating emerging evidence from microbiome research into health systems
- Developing microbiome-based public health curriculum materials that enhance public health messages
Do you want to shape the future of how public health is taught?
Contact: Amy Cook, Senior Director, Knowledge Mobilization
Brain Canada Foundation through the Canada Brain Research Fund, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé (FRQs), Genome British Columbia, Genome Canada
Canada Life, Anonymous (1)
Developmental, evolutionary and stem cell biology
Fellows & Advisors
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars
COVID and Our Children
How the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the physical and mental health of childrenNovember 10, 2021
COVID-19 may forever alter our microbiomes
The virus (and our reactions to it) affects our health through the microbiome.January 26, 2021
Microbiome in Public Health: Laying a Foundation for a New Curriculum
Research on the human microbiome is disrupting our understanding of healthy development and aging.May 04, 2020
CIFAR completes review of four research programs
Three CIFAR research programs will be renewed and one program will be closed in 2020/21March 26, 2020
Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes may be communicable
A new research paper proposes that “non-communicable” diseases may be transmitted through the microbiomeMarch 26, 2020
Health & Well-being
Understanding How the Microbiome Impacts Public Health via a Multidisciplinary Approach
An understanding of the human microbiome has a major role in an integrated approach to public health.March 16, 2020
When antibiotics fail
An expert panel on antimicrobial resistance chaired by B. Brett Finlay releases its reportNovember 14, 2019
Meet the 2019-2021 cohort of CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars
Fourteen inspiring early-career researchers named across five CIFAR research programsSeptember 04, 2019
The Future of the Microbiome in Public Health
Rapid advances in research on the human microbiome are leading to new insights on the role of our body’s microorganism...July 29, 2019
CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.