Andres M. Gomez, Assistant Professor of Microbiomics at the University of Minnesota, delivers an interesting overview of microbiomics. Gomez received a BSc in Animal Sciences and an MSc in Biotechnology from the National University of Colombia before going on to complete his Ph.D. in Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois.
Gomez explains microbiomics, which encompasses all the current techniques used to study microbes, their function, and interactions with the environments they inhabit. Microbiomics utilizes next-generation sequencing techniques, metabolomics (large-scale study of small molecules), and more.
Gomez’s lab studies the many factors that determine or guide the composition and function of a microbiome associated with animals and also humans. They use advanced meta-OMIC techniques (metagenomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics), as well as machine learning and other statistical tools. One of their primary goals is to comprehend how the microbiome engages with a host, and ultimately influences the host’s overall health and nutrition, etc.
Gomez provides a detailed overview of the microbes that live within the gut. He discusses fatty acids and how they are produced. Microbiome analysis can provide important insight into the microbial communities and deliver abundant amounts of information about varying environments and important changes that can occur in the environments. Further understanding of these issues and the data they are gathering could provide a wealth of significant data regarding the human microbiome and how it impacts health and disease.
Gomez discusses some of the case studies that have recently made the news. And he talks about fecal transplantation therapy (bacteriotherapy). Fecal transplantation is the conveyance of stool from a healthy donor into a recipient, used as a means of treatment. Transplants can allow for a better understanding of the microbiome. Results have varied however, Gomez states, and more study needs to be done.