"I think the research I did for my next interview permanently changed the way I see my body," says NPR's Terry Gross before she speaks with Washington University's Jeffrey Gordon about the Human Microbiome Project. The project, Gordon says, isn't about making a list of the microbes that live in and on the human body, but "to understand how these compendium of microbes, how these vast collections, operate as a community, how they are shaped by the habitats in which they live, in turn, how they shape us."
They also discuss the recent microbiome transplant and how knowing more about the microbiome may contribute to disease prevention or treatment. "I think very targeted manipulation of microbes in a gut community with very focused antimicrobial therapies, or the introduction of very well-equipped bacteria that can digest components of our diet will be a series of approaches that will be used," Gordon says. "And that we'll see chemical entities ... applied to those human genes that are being manipulated by the microbes, either to enhance the effects of the microbes, these genes, or to block the effects of certain microbes on these genes."