Highlight: Scott Jackson’s Residing in a Microbial World

Credit score:

R. Wilson/NIST


Scott Jackson shouldn’t be alone on this image. It’s him, and his microbiome. 

The human microbiome is outlined as all of the microbes that dwell in and on the human physique. An individual’s physique accommodates extra microbial cells than human cells, and collectively, they’ve an enormous impact on well being.  

Scott leads NIST’s advanced microbial methods group. However he’s by no means taken a category in microbiology. His coaching is in biochemistry and genetics. He considers himself a molecular geneticist. 

So how did he begin finding out the microbiome?  

Scott used to work on the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration doing molecular epidemiology and microbial forensics. If there was an outbreak of salmonella, for example, he and his colleagues would use genetics to establish the supply of the outbreak, just like how a criminal offense investigator can establish a suspect by their DNA.  

That work was about utilizing DNA sequencing to establish particular person strains of microbes. However DNA know-how has superior quickly in recent times, and in the present day, scientists can use “next-generation DNA sequencing” to establish tens of hundreds of species of microbes on the identical time. 

Right now, Scott is main efforts at NIST to develop instruments and requirements for measuring the human microbiome. This in flip will assist pharmaceutical corporations to develop new varieties of medicine that comprise residing micro organism, or “bugs as medicine.”  

It’s an enchanting function for Scott, who makes use of his background in molecular genetics in a brand new manner to assist promote human well being and well-being.  

“We want these microbes!” Jackson stated. “They’re not simply hanging out with us. They’re crucial for our survival.”  

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