Humans & the Microbiome
How do microbes that live in and on us affect our health, development and even behaviour?
Micro-organisms cover our skin and fill our guts. These bacteria, viruses, and fungi — collectively called the human microbiome — have significant impact on human health. This program brings together anthropologists, biologists, and other scholars to address questions about the microbiome’s impact on human health and development, and how it is affected by individual and societal behaviour.
RESEARCH AND SOCIETAL IMPACT HIGHLIGHTS
Tracking perception of the human microbiome
Through ethnographic and semi-structured interviews with adults in the United States,
CIFAR program Co-Director Melissa Melby (University of Delaware) and Advisor Mark Nichter (University of Arizona) found public perception of the human microbiome centres on gut microbiome only, whereas the microbial populations of the skin, lungs and many other areas are also critically important. These findings will help inform how best to shape information about the microbiome for the public, and identify areas of further research needed.
UNDERSTANDING MILK MICROBIOME VARIATION IN BREASTMILK
Through a CIFAR Catalyst Fund project, Fellows Meghan Azad (University of Manitoba, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba) and Naama Geva-Zatorsky (Technion - Israel University of Technology) are discovering how indoor and outdoor environmental factors affect the composition of the milk microbiome. The outcomes of this project could have far-reaching implications on the habits and recommended behaviour of families, especially before delivery, and during the first months of infants’ lives as mothers’ milk affects their infants’ gut.
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
Developmental, evolutionary and stem cell biology
Fellows & Advisors
CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholars
How the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the physical and mental health of childrenNovember 10, 2021
The virus (and our reactions to it) affects our health through the microbiome.January 26, 2021
Research on the human microbiome is disrupting our understanding of healthy development and aging.May 04, 2020
Three CIFAR research programs will be renewed and one program will be closed in 2020/21March 26, 2020
A new research paper proposes that “non-communicable” diseases may be transmitted through the microbiomeMarch 26, 2020
Health & Well-being
An understanding of the human microbiome has a major role in an integrated approach to public health.March 16, 2020
An expert panel on antimicrobial resistance chaired by B. Brett Finlay releases its reportNovember 14, 2019
Fourteen inspiring early-career researchers named across five CIFAR research programsSeptember 04, 2019
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.