Jun 9, 2020
A microbiologist by training,
Sam Minot now works as a computational biologist helping other
scientists understand the data between of human microbiome and
In this podcast, he explains
Samuel Minot is a Staff
Scientist with the Microbiome Research Initiative in the Vaccine
and Infectious Disease Division of the Fred Hutch Cancer Research
Center. He begins this conversation with a foundational question in
microbiology: how do the microbes on us impact our health? He
then discusses the complexity of the interaction of bacteria and
the viruses that infect them, also called phages.
He offers examples of new discoveries constantly upending our picture of what viruses and bacteria can do and ways infectious viruses impact some bacteria and cause disease. As an example, he discusses cholera, which is harmful because of a satellite virus that infects a bacterium: the two together make the disease.
He then lays the ground for why
it is important to prioritize a gene-level study of our microbiome
by describing the impossibility of culturing every bacterium. He
describes what functional annotation is and how that concept allows
him to identify genes that affect human health and work to
understand data at this level. He talks about the big impacts
in his field, namely newer findings on how the microbiome
influences the treatment of cancer.
Studies show that the kinds of microbes in our gut relate to our immune response's handling of different treatments to fight the cancer. In other words, the immune system is poised to respond to cancer treatment based on the microbiome. This is leading to hopeful microbiome-based therapeutic treatments for cancer.
For more, see
and Sam Minot's blog at
Available on Apple podcast: apple.co/2Os0myK