Universal Dynamics of Human Microbial Ecosystems
Our body is colonized by trillions of microbes, known as the human microbiome,
living with us in a complex ecological system. Those micro-organisms play a crucial
role in determining our health and well-being, and there are ongoing efforts to
develop tools and strategies to control these ecosystems.
In this talk I address a simple but fundamental question: are the microbial ecosystems
in different people governed by the same host-independent ecological
principles, represented by a characteristic (i.e. “universal”) mathematical model?
Answering this question determines the feasibility of general therapies and
control strategies for the human microbiome.
I will introduce our novel methodology that distinguishes between two scenarios: host-independent
and host-specific underlying dynamics. This methodology has been applied to study
different body sites across healthy subjects. The results can
fundamentally improve our understanding of forces and processes shaping human microbial
ecosystems, paving the way to design general microbiome-based therapies.