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Organic Chemistry Seminar

Wednesday, February 1, 2023
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Gates Annex B122
Deciphering the Human Gut Microbiome with Chemistry
Emily P. Balskus, Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University,

RESCHEDULED from January 18.

The human body is colonized by trillions of microorganisms that exert a profound influence on human biology, in part by providing functional capabilities that extend beyond those of host cells. In particular, there is growing evidence linking chemical processes carried out by the human gut microbiome to diseases such as colorectal cancer. However, we still do not understand the vast majority of the molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. Major obstacles faced in surmounting this knowledge gap include the difficulty linking functions associated with the human gut microbiota to specific microbial enzymes and the challenge of controlling these activities in complex microbial communities. This talk will discuss my lab's efforts to characterize gut microbial metabolic activities that are linked to colorectal cancer, including a gut microbial genotoxin called colibactin. Gaining a molecular understanding of cancer-associated gut microbial activities will not only help to elucidate the mechanisms by which these organisms contribute to carcinogenesis but should also enable efforts to treat and prevent disease by manipulating this microbial community.

Zoom information available upon request.

For more information, please contact Annette Luymes by phone at x6016 or by email at [email protected].