This post is coming in a little late (good things are worth waiting for right?) but this past June we hosted Dr. David Pride at SDSU for the fourth iPATH/VII seminar talk!
Dr. Pride talked about “the role of bacteriophages in the human microbiome”. He focused on things that reflected our newfound knowledge in the areas of the human body; primarily that many of the sites in the body previously thought to be sterile actually aren’t. Current estimates put the amount of bacteria in the human body to be at about 38 trillion – but viruses in the body outnumber bacteria by 10x.
More recent research from the Pride Lab has focused on how those viral populations can help determine the structure of those bacterial communities, both within an individual and in close environments between multiple people.
A fun experiment that Dr. Pride carried out involved testing the presence of bacteriophages within the oral cavity—essentially spitting in a tubes and performing electron microscopy and assays to determine the morphologies of the phages present. Most interestingly, there were certain viruses that were found to be persistent in the mouth over the course of 60 days.
Looking at this ecologically, this data and research like it can impact how we study and treat periodontal diseases.
Overall, modeling the bacterial and viral communities in the human body is becoming an increasingly important area of research both in the clinical and academic setting.
We’re taking a break from the iPATH/VII seminars this July, but we’ll be back for more starting August! Stay tuned! 😊