You are likely humming along in your daily life, blissfully unaware of your non-human parts. Yep – you are a superorganism. Roughly 10% of the cells in your body are the cells that make up your human body. So what are the other 90% composed of? Here to acquaint us with the other 90% of our cells is Dr. Katherine Amato. Katie is a post doc at the University of Colorado Boulder where she studies the gut microbes of leaf eating primates. She’s also an instructor in UC-Boulder’s online course called ‘Gut Check’.
Meredith and Katie talk about what microbes – or more specifically, our microbiota – are, where they come from, how they change over time, what they do for us, and why we should care about them.
Bottom line: Your body houses communities of microorganisms that assist you in maintaining your health. You might want to consider being a more gracious host. The human microbiota co-evolved with us as a species, this ancestral bit of us does not thrive under modern human environmental conditions. <<< And your health may suffer as a result.
Come on back next week for more about our amazing microbiome.
Dr. Amato’s bio
Katherine Amato is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on the gut microbes of wild non-human primates and compares the gut microbiota of non-human primates and humans to provide a broader evolutionary perspective on the human gut microbiome. She is a co-instructor of the Gut Check: Exploring Your Microbiome course on Coursera and recently participated in TEDxJacksonHole. Katherine received her B.A. in biology at Dartmouth College and subsequently spent a year as a Fulbright Fellow and National Geographic Young Explorer doing fieldwork in Mexico. She earned her Ph.D. in ecology, evolution and conservation biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013.