News & Events
Microbiota in health and disease
Speaker(s): Prof. Karen Angeliki Krogfelt, Department of Bacteria, Parasites and Fungi, Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark
When: 15 November 2017 (3:00 - 4:00pm)
Where: SBS CR2 (Level 1)
Type: Seminars


Gut microbiota is the largest community of microorganisms inhabiting a mammalian host, occupying the gastrointestinal tract. The composition of this microbial community is stable, largely host specific and evolving throughout an individual's lifetime, indicating the importance of first colonisation of the neonate gut. Although incredibly stable, the commensal microbiota is influenced by both exogenous and endogenous modifications. Biotechnological advances and renewed interest in the structure and function of the microbiota has illuminated its central position in health and disease.

The microbiota is intimately involved in numerous aspects of normal host physiology, immunological responses, nutritional status, behaviour and stress response. Additionally, gut microbiota can be a central or contributing cause of many diseases, affecting both near and far organ systems. The overall balance in the composition of the gut microbial community, as well as the presence or absence of key species capable of effecting specific responses, is important in ensuring homeostasis or lack thereof at the intestinal mucosa and beyond. 

Alterations in the composition of the commensal microbiota are observed in many complex diseases. Understanding the basis for these changes, how they relate to disease risk or activity, and the mechanisms by which the symbiotic state of colonisation resistance and host homoeostasis is restored, is critical for future therapies aimed at manipulating the microbiota.