CIHR STAGE International Speaker Seminar
Dr. Curtis Huttenhower, Associate Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health
Title: Identifying personal microbiomes using metagenomic codes
Abstract: The human microbiome represents a remarkable reservoir of genetic and biochemical diversity, and it has now been shown to be associated with nearly every immune or inflammatory health condition. It is acquired rapidly after birth, and recent work has shown many of these organisms to be remarkably persistent, remaining present and affecting health outcomes for up to years or decades. I will describe recent results showing that the personalization of the microbiome is sufficient to uniquely identify individuals within moderately large populations using microbial genomic codes. This has both basic biological ramifications, given the individuality and long-term persistence of genetically unique organisms within hosts, and implications for microbiome sequence data protection comparable to those that have been standardized for human genetic sequences.