(…Or A Year in “Review”)
In this post, I’ll share some 2019 highlights from the Finlay lab.
The past year included conferences, collaboration, documentaries, disturbing reports, and (of course) science!
In April 2019, the Michael Smith Laboratories held a special screening of Dr. Brett Finlay’s Let Them Eat Dirt Documentary. The documentary, based on the eponymous book authored by Dr. Marie-Claire Arrieta (former Finlay post-doc, now at the University of Calgary Arrieta Lab) and Dr. Finlay, explores links between gut microbes and health.
Written for parents and educators, the book and documentary discuss how over-sanitization impairs the establishment of a diverse gut microbiota. Reduced diversity has been linked to the rise of non-infectious disease (e.g. asthma, allergy). *To learn more about Finlay asthma research, check out “BREATHE” in the Skope’s Gutsy section.* The documentary highlights lifestyle practices that shape the microbiota and practical solutions to bolster a healthy microbiome (taking a pill labelled “probiotic wonder” does not act as a panacea for gut, metabolic, or brain disorders!).
2019 screenings occurred in Vancouver, Victoria, and Toronto…stay tuned for a wider release in 2020. Until then, check out the trailer below.
The year ended with a special report from the Council of Canadian Academies: When Antibiotics Fail. Brett Finlay chaired an expert panel that addressed antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR). Disquieting, yet critical, the report details the medical, financial, and ecological impacts of antibiotics and AMR. The panel estimates that by 2020 nearly 40% of pathogenic microbes will be resistant against first-line antimicrobials (think penicillin, ampicillin). In a fight where bad bugs outwit drugs, what are promising solutions to prevent infectious diseases in our future?
In positive news, Finlayite and Microbiology and Immunology PhD Candidate, Sarah Woodward, was awarded the UBC Science Excellence in Service Award. Sarah is a key leader in the UBC branch of Let’s Talk Science, a Canadian initiative promoting STEM programs, education, and outreach initiatives. You can learn more about Sarah’s work in our #3facts5scientists interview!
Finally, to begin the 2020 take a look at our Year in “Review”!
Additional sources below:
Finlay lab website
Let Them Eat Dirt website.