Research and Innovation Scholar
Bugs and Drugs
Eric J. Alm
The human body contains almost 10x more bacterial cells than human cells. Recent findings indicate that our microbiome plays a huge role in our daily metabolic functions, from regulation of immune system to gastroenterologic health. Still, very little specifics are known, so in 2015 Eric Alm of the Bioengineering Dept at MIT and Ramnik Xavier of MGH Gastroenterology formed the Center for Microbiome Informatics & Therapeutics to study how the microbiome functions & how it can be put to therapeutic use. Many of the beneficial effects of bacteria stem from the chemicals they release in our body, so effort is being put into identifying & categorizing them. Further research is recording these metabolomic levels in clinical studies to potentially use them as indicators of health issues.
This past summer I worked in a neuroimaging lab in Chile that really opened my eyes as too how
exciting the research world can be. Although the topics are virtually unrelated, I see a lot of potential in a relatively unexplored field.”