Tagging the Bugs that Carry Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic Resistance

In this week’s show, Beth interviews Dr. Ivan Liachko, CEO and Co-Founder of Phase Genomics, a startup biotech company recently funded, in part, by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The company is using a new technology that allows researchers to pair plasmids, which are small non-chromosomal pieces of DNA, with the bacterial species carrying them. This is key to identiying the species in the microbiome that carry antibiotic resistacne genes. In the following interview, which starts at about 6:00 Dr Liachko describes the method and its implications. You can see more about the technology at their website.

Hosts: Beth Bennett & Joel Parker
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Characterizing Microbial Communities

dustMicrobesMicrobial communities are all around us: in our homes, gardens, oceans, even deep underground but their roles in the function of the biosphere are poorly understood. Today Beth spoke with Professor Noah Fierer, at the University of Colorado, in Boulder, who uses DNA to identify microbes in communities ranging from insect microbiomes to Antarctic soils. He has discovered lots of previously unknown bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic critters which are everywhere, eat everything, and perform surprising roles in ecosystems ranging from our guts to Antarctic soils. You can see more at the Fierer Lab website. And check out the New Yorker article on shower heads. With this episode we resume our series on Our Microbes, Ourselves.

Hosts: Beth Bennett & Chip Grandits
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Chip Grandits
Executive Producer
: Beth Bennett
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Baking Soda for Autoimmune Disease // Crickets for the Gut

baking soda boxBaking Soda for Autoimmune Disease (starts at 1:00)  Georgia Medical College researcher Paul O’Connor reports that a small amount of baking soda in water, for two weeks, shifts the immune cell known as macrophage away from “attack” mode and more toward, “repair” mode.  He says this research comes, in part, from studies involving the benefits of baking soda for people whose kidneys are stressed and failing.  There’s more research ahead, but O’Connor suspects that someday, these findings might mean that baking soda becomes a safe part of calming down an autoimmune disease attack.

cricketCrickets for the Gut (starts 10:25)  New research from Colorado State University reveals that adding just a few teaspoons of cricket powder to a milkshake, or to a muffin, may reduce an inflammatory marker in the blood and increase levels of an intestinal microbe that is known for reducing the chance of a leaky gut that can lead to excess inflammation.  The leader of this cricket powder study CSU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition professor Tiffany Weir.
See other related features in our Our Microbes, Ourselves series. 

Host, Producer and Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Healthy . . . But Missing Gut Microbes

Toby Hammer says initially, he, too, was surprised about the missing microbes.

Toby Hammer says initially, he was surprised about the missing microbes.

Healthy . . . But Missing Gut Microbes (Starts 3:25) Practically everyone on the planet now knows that animals have microbes in their guts. This is a new field of exploration, and top researchers emphasize that we need to learn much more before making any blanket statements about the total effect of the gut microbiome.  Nevertheless, it’s become politically correct to advocate specific diets to eat, for the sake of healthy gut microbes, and to assume that all animals “need” gut microbes. That’s one reason the research from CU-Boulder evolutionary biologist Toby Hammer is so fascinating.  Hammer has discovered a number of animals that probably don’t need microbes in their guts – ranging from some insects to some animals as large as, well, a panda bear.  It all began with Hammer’s research into caterpillars . . . 

Host: Chip Grandits
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Chip Grandits
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Antibiotics & Your Microbiome

microbiomeThis week on How on Earth, Beth interviews Dr Martin Blaser of New York University who challenges the assumption that antibiotics are harmless drugs targeting only harmful pathogens. In his recent book, Missing Microbes, Blaser presents the evidence that antibiotics are causing the extinction of important bacteria in our microbiome. These microbes have co-evolved with us, so losing them puts us at risk of many of the rising diseases of our society: asthma, allergies, eczema and obesity. Check out his book: https://books.google.com/books/about/Missing_Microbes.html?id=RJucAwAAQBAJ

Host: Beth Bennett
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Is Your Oral Microbiome Affected by Your Genes?

Twins face to face

Twins face to face

On the first day of the summer pledge drive, Beth interviews Dr Brittany Demmitt, a behavioral molecular geneticist. Her recent study used a powerful genetic tool, identical twins, to show that the micro biome in the mouth is influenced by both genes and environment.

Hosts:Beth Bennett, Chip Grantis, Joel Parker
Producer:Beth Bennett
Engineer:Joel Parker
Additional Contributions:Beth Bennett
Executive Producer:Alejandro Soto

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Your Baby’s Microbiome

Your Baby's Microbiome book coverYour Baby’s Microbiome (start time 6:13): This week on How on Earth Beth Bennett interviews Toni Harmon, author of Your Baby’s Microbiome, a look into the role the maternal micro biome plays before and after birth. For a newborn, the biological defenses to diseases and the environment come from the mother. Harmon talks about how the birth process and interactions between the newborn and the mother help build up the immunities that a young child requires.

Hosts: Beth Bennett and Alejandro Soto
Producer: Alejandro Soto
Engineer: Beth Bennett
Additional contributions: Susan Moran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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American Gut Project

american-gut-project-stepsamerican-gut-project-steps-151029The American Gut project is the largest crowd-sourced project ever: to date, over 80.000 participants have contributed fecal, skin, or oral samples. The ambitious goal is to characterize the microbiota of as many individuals as possible to identify the diverse species living in and on us. Beth interviews Dr Embrietta Hyde, Project Manager of the Gut project about results and progess.
Host: Beth Bennett
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker
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I Contain Multitudes–Our Microbes, Ourselves

Multitudes of Microbes (start time: 3:38): You may find it unsettling to learn that our human cells make up only half of our bodies. The other half is a bunch of microbes (in the neighborhood of 40 trillion), all living and reproducing in, and on, our bodies. What’s more, these invisible machines could have a powerful influence on your brain, and on your overall health. Ed Yong, a staff writer for The Atlantic, found it disconcerting at first to learn this when he researched his book called “I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life.” The book, published earlier this year, explores the mysterious partnerships between humans, and many other species, and the mighty microbes with which we have co-evolved. Today we air the full phone interview that How On Earth host Susan Moran recently had with Yong. We played short clips of the conversation during our fall pledge-drive show last Tuesday. Thanks to you listeners who pledged! And thanks to Yong’s publisher, Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins, for donating to KGNU several copies, which some generous members are now reading. This interview continues our series called “Our Microbes, Ourselves.”

Hosts: Kendra Krueger, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Kendra Krueger
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Pledge Drive//Interview with Ed Yong

I Contain MultitudesThis week’s pledge- drive show features a teaser introduction to Ed Yong’s new book I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life. We play segments from the interview that host Susan Moran recently had with Yong, a science writer for The Atlantic. There still may be a copy left, so call now to have your own, with a pledge of at least $60 to KGNU. Call 303.449.4885.
The book explores the role that invisible yet mighty microbes play in our lives, as well as the lives of so many species with whom they have co-evolved. Yong highlights the research of many scientists in this emerging field who are studying how our gut microbiome influences our brain chemistry, and our overall mental and physical health. The book deepens our understanding of the ecosystems within our bodies as well as the ecosystems in the natural world.
Next Tuesday, Nov. 4, we will broadcast the complete interview with Ed Yong.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Beth Bennett, Kendra Kruger
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Additional Contributions: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
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