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Global Wellness and Human Health: The Rutgers Microbiome Program

September 30, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

The Rutgers Microbiome Program and Rutgers University Alumni Association are hosting a program at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 30, as part of the Big Ideas series.

“Global Wellness and Human Health: The Rutgers Microbiome Program”

Despite 20th-century medical breakthroughs, many diseases have increased alarmingly, including obesity, diabetes, asthma, allergies, autism, and autoimmune diseases, with causes unknown and cures unavailable. Now, it is clear that our microbiome, the group of diverse microorganisms that lives in and on us, plays a critical role in our health, affecting metabolism, immunity, and even our brains. In short, a healthy microbiome keeps us healthy.

In addition to impacting human health, microbial diversity affects the well-being of plants, animals, and ecosystems. Modern human activities are degrading the earth’s microbiomes, which affects agriculture and food systems, ocean ecology and climate, and global biodiversity.

What if you could adjust your microbial makeup to its healthiest composition by taking personalized treatments? What if we could produce food crops that are better developed to require less fertilizers and more resistance to climate change? Can we harness microbes to prevent the environmental degradation due to climate change? The Rutgers Microbiome Program aims to address such questions by examining and manipulating microbiome roles in human and the Earth’s health.

Speakers include:

Debashish Bhattacharya
• Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology
• He studies the impact of environmental changes on the biology of aquatic species and the use of genomic tools to elucidate the pathways that are used by algae and corals to deal with environmental stresses, such as temperature and pH changes in rapidly warming oceans.

Martin Blaser
• director of the Rutgers Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine; Henry Rutgers Chair of the Human Microbiome; and professor of medicine and pathology
• His research studies the relationship of the human microbiome to health and diseases such as asthma, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello
• Henry Rutgers Professor of Microbiome and Health; director of the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health at Rutgers; and core faculty member of Rutgers Global Health Institute
• Her research focuses on microbiome development from birth, functions for the host, the impact of practices that reduce microbial transmission or disrupt the microbiota, and strategies for restoration.

Liping Zhao
• Eveleigh-Fenton Chair of Applied Microbiology
• His pioneering research explores tools and dietary interventions for manipulating gut microbiota to improve human metabolic health and has led to important discoveries, such as identifying pathogens in obese individuals that confer increased obesity risk.

Online via Zoom

Free and open to the public. Advance registration required (login details will be provided to registered attendees). For more information, contact


September 30, 2021
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


Rutgers University Alumni Association
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