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Microbiota

You probably heard a lot about 'good bacteria', 'bad bacteria', 'eat your yogurt' etc. Well, part of the reason is that the bacteria that reside in our bodies influence our health. In fact, the human body contains trillions of microorganisms - i.e we have 10 times more bacteria than cells in our body. That's a lot!

Scientists have found that besides helping us in food digestion, microbiota influences our metabolism and produces vitamins we can't get anywhere else. But what else are these bacteria doing in our bodies? What species do we have? If these bacteria are 'good' for us, how do they provide those benefits? Another important thing to mention is that aging also affects the bacterial composition in your intestine. A shift in microbial populations has been linked to age-related conditions. We are just starting to understand why/how these changes in the microbiota (i.e. microbial dysbiosis) happens.

To dissect these questions we are focusing on the bacteria that live in the intestine. We are interested in understanding how the gut epithelium interacts with its resident microbiome. Particularly we are focusing on the intestinal stem cells as we (and others) have found that they can modulate the gut microbiome in health and aging.