Week 1, Video 5 – Seeing the Invisible
Humans are the bystanders; microbes are what do the work
Robert Hook – wrote book called Micrographia
Leeuwenhoek saw things Hook didn’t see since his lenses were better (looked at a stinger of a
bee, leg of lice; these are same animals Hook looked at) – He picked up water into a glass from a
lake and put it under his lens and what he saw were green streaks; among this were all these little
animals (called them little diertgens – dutch word for animals)
Discovered sperm, red blood cells, protozoa, bacteria
Vibrio means vibrate – Vibrio harveyi is a marine bacterium and is very fast. If you watch them
cell divide, all the bacteria in unison start glowing in the dark. By studying this bioluminescent
organism we discovered that bacteria can communicate (so not only higher order organisms like
us communicate but smaller ones do too and probably started before we came along).
Week 1, Video 6 – NPR video on microbiome
There are 10x more microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi) than human cells in our body.
Bacteria genes to human genes is a ratio of 10:1.
The human microbiome is the set of all the microorganism genes on the human body
Our microbiomes come from our mothers – as infant passes through birth canal, microbes get
passed from our mom to us – our microbes is like a fingerprint (unique to us but resembles that
of our parents)
Microbes educate our immune cells (telling them what they should fight off and should leave
alone). Microbes fight off germs that try to invade our body and can even spew out their own
Different microbes live in different spots in our bodies (wet places, dry places, etc. like habitats)
Gut is most complex, diverse, and important spot for microbes (fighting off infections, signalling
cells, even help regulate our metabolism)
A lot of diseases are increasing because we starting to lose microbes (less diverse) – too many
babies are undergoing c-section and not enough breastfeeding and too many antibiotics (and
cleanliness) kids are getting.
Probiotics can help treat and prevent some diseases. So can taking prebiotics (food that good
Why I Donated My Stool – Article
His friend Gene had ulcerative colitis – a colon riddled with bleeding ulcers. His doctor put him
on steroids and anti-inflammatories (standard treatment for these ulcers). He was feeling better but then a month later the symptoms came back. He was put on steroids again the but symptoms
just kept getting worse
According to his doctors, he had two choices: powerful immunosuppressant drugs like the k