(Or 300!)

I recently returned from a microbiome conference. It was an amazing experience to listen and learn about the impact of the human microbiota on health, development, and evolution. The speakers included leading microbiologists, immunologists, geneticists, anthropologists, ecologists, and developmental biologists. The vital functions of microbial symbionts remained an overarching theme throughout each wonderfully unique and informative talk. While at the conference, I was reminded of the following quote:

“Life would not long remain possible in the absence of microbes.”—Louis Pasteur, circa 1883.


Untitled*contemplating microbes and Pasteur during a conference break…

Almost one year ago, PLOS Biology published a thought-provoking, conceptual piece by Drs. Jack Gilbert and Josh Neufeld. The article, entitled Life in a World without Microbes examined Pasteur’s statement. I won’t spoil their conclusion, but I’ll list a few of their comments:

  • Microbes produce vitamin B12 for half of the phytoplankton*
  • Humans depend upon gut microbes to produce amino acids and essential vitamins
  • Without microbes, biogeochemical waste would accumulate rapidly—think about it…

Stay tuned for more gut microbiome-brain posts later this year.

PS: Thank you to the 300 visitors from 25+ countries that have viewed, subscribed, and shared this the Skope! Cheers and Happy Microbial Exploring!

* phytoplankton form the base of many aquatic food chains and produce much of the world’s oxygen

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By KCBauer

Hello! My name is KCBauer and I am a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia. I am a researcher, writer, musician, and explorer. Originally from Washington DC, I graduated with a BA in Music and BS in Biology in 2014. This blog focuses on the gut microbiota, the trillions of microorganisms that reside along the digestive tract. My grad research at UBC examines the role of the gut microbiota on human health, brain development, and anthropology. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy ambling through Vancity, listening to music, reading science journals, and hiking. If you have questions, ideas for blog topics, suggestions for place to visit in BC, or corrections send me an email at


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