Visscher Lecture: Dr Jack Gilbert, Professor, Department of Surgery, Univerity of Chicago
Friday, October 13, 2017 at 3:00pm
Graves Hall, Winants Auditorium and Gallery 263 College Avenue, Holland, MI 49423-3646
The human microbiome is quickly being recognized as a dynamic part of the human ecosystem, and research is starting to demonstrate that using ecology to understand this ecosystem has profound benefits for patient wellness. The immune system controls our interaction with the microbial world, and yet the microbial
communities in our bodies are central to modulating the immune response. Changes in the human microbiome have substantial influence on atopy, neurological disorders, metabolic disorders, and a range of complex conditions and disease states. We will discuss evidence of these mechanisms of interaction and how we have started to disturb the delicate balance of the immune-microbe equilibrium, impacting the development and function of our immune systems. Central to this disturbance is the distance we have placed
between our children and the microbial world, which has been demonstrated to have a substantial influence on their physiological, immunological, neurological and even endocrinological development. We are now able to significantly reduce cows milk allergy in infants through active manipulation of the gastrointestinal
microbiota. We can also reduce surgical infections by feeding the microbiome, preventing virulence activation, and reduce sepsis by using the microbiome to stimulate immune activation. Applying new
strategies to identify how the microbial ecosystem correlates with diseases states and treatment efficacy through Microbiome-Wide Association Studies (MWAS) is altering the trajectory of precision medicine, and providing a new framework for facilitating patient care.
Professor Jack A Gilbert earned his Ph.D. from Unilever and Nottingham University, UK in 2002, and received his postdoctoral training at Queens University, Canada. He subsequently returned to the UK in 2005 to Plymouth Marine Laboratory at a senior scientist until his move to Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago in 2010.
Currently, Professor Gilbert is the Director of the Microbiome Center and a Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago. He is also Group Leader for Microbial Ecology at Argonne National Laboratory, Research Associate at the Field Museum of Natural History, Scientific Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory, and the Yeoh Ghim Seng
Visiting Professorship in Surgery at the National University of Singapore. Dr. Gilbert uses molecular analysis to test fundamental hypotheses in microbial ecology. He has authored more than 250 peer reviewed publications and book chapters on metagenomics and approaches to ecosystem ecology. He is the founding Editor in Chief of mSystems journal. In 2014 he was recognized on Crain’s Business Chicago’s 40 Under 40 List, and in 2015 he was listed as one
of the 50 most influential scientists by Business Insider, and in the Brilliant Ten by Popular Scientist. In 2016 he won the Altemeier Prize from the Surgical Infection Society, and the WH Pierce Prize from the Society for Applied Microbiology for research excellence. He also co-authored “Dirt is Good” published in 2017, a popular science guide
to the microbiome and children’s health.
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