Rob Knight is a pioneer in studying human microbes, the community of tiny single-cell organisms living inside our bodies that have a huge — and largely unexplored — role in our health. “The three pounds of microbes that you carry around with you might be more important than every single gene you carry around in your genome,” he says.
Rob Knight is here to tell us about the gut. Or at least, the microbes in them. Microbes releasing different elements can in fact change how attractive mosquitos are to you.
Rob Knight is the head of a lab that turns the ATGC information from microbes and turns them into a useful, comprehensible image that can be parsed and used to help diagnose which drugs will be more effective than others on a per-patient basis.
Gut microbes are far less common than human DNA from person to person. Less than 10% similarity, compared to 99.99% similarity between person to person, and people are their own microbial community – once you’re an adult, you are not likely to gain any of your cohabitant’s microbes.
There’s a highly suggested correlation between traditional birth and long-term health and the risks of C-section delivery and how that keeps children from being exposed to the “correct” microbes at a critical point in their life.
The work Dr. Knight has done with mice is also suggestive that it is possible microbes even change behavior among mammals – such as mice given microbes from an obese mouse begin eating more and actually becoming obese when the only change is what microbes are coexisting inside the mouse.
Moving on to human trials, Rob Knight has apparently found a cure for C-Diff, a violent intestinal condition, by transplanting healthy human microbes into affect patients. His work is groundbreaking and could be a whole new vector for treatment of patients.