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Renowned microbiome expert to speak at UB

By CHARLOTTE HSU

Published April 1, 2016

Martin Blaser

Martin Blaser, a leading expert on the human microbiome, will present two free seminars at UB in early April.

The term “human microbiome” refers to the collection of trillions of microorganisms that live on and inside people. These microbial communities colonize the landscape of our bodies, from our eyelashes to our skin to our guts, and they’ve become a topic of intense public interest in recent years as scientists have increasingly recognized the role that the microbiome plays in human health and disease prevention.

Blaser is director of the New York University (NYU) Human Microbiome Program and Muriel G. and George W. Singer Professor of Translational Medicine at NYU.

As a physician and microbiologist, Blaser is interested in understanding the relationships that humans have with our persistently colonizing bacteria. Over the last decade, he has been actively studying the relationship of the human microbiome to health and such important diseases as asthma, obesity, diabetes and allergies.

He is author of the book, “Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues,” about the degradation of our internal microbial ecosystem as a result of modern medical practices.

Blaser will visit UB April 6-7 as this year’s Thermo-Fisher New Frontiers in Science and Technology Distinguished Speaker.

The seminars he will deliver are free and open to the public:

  • “Altering the early life microbiome and its consequences.” This seminar will be held at noon on Wednesday, April 6, in 144 Farber Hall on the South Campus.

  • “Helicobacter pylori at the cross-roads of health and disease.” This seminar will be held at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, in 201 Natural Sciences Complex on the North Campus. A reception for Blaser will be held in 116 Cooke Hall at 3 p.m. on April 7, just prior to the seminar.

Blaser has served as president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute, and chair of the Advisory Board for Clinical Research of the National Institutes of Health.

He currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2011. He is a member of the editorial boards of Cell Host and Microbe, mBio, Helicobacter, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Gut, and Microbiome.

Blaser’s visit is co-hosted by the UB Department of Biological Sciences and the UB Department of Microbiology and Immunology. The April 7 reception is sponsored by the Genome, Environment and Microbiome (GEM) Community of Excellence at UB.