The Chemistry of Microbiomes: A Four Seminar Series

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The Chemistry of Microbiomes
A Four Seminar Series

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Microbiomes—the collections of bacteria, viruses and fungi that inhabit essentially every conceivable environment—impact the metabolic diversity of the planet in many ways.  They produce a vast array of chemicals that are used to interact and communicate with each other, their living hosts, and their surrounding abiotic environment. These molecules catalyze a broad range of chemical reactions responsible for maintaining ecosystem and human health, but there is still much to learn about the chemical mechanisms through which these interactions work.

To examine what is currently known and opportunities for additional research, a series of four seminars was hosted in Washington, DC. The first three seminars focused on one of three microbiome systems:  earth, marine, and human.  Each seminar featured presentations and discussions on:

  • The role of chemistry in microbial communities, including microbe-microbe signaling and host-microbe interactions
  • Current challenges and potential future research

Commonalities and differences among the chemistries of these interactions across systems are highlighted in the final seminar.