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Contact: Gina Hebert, 508-289-7725, ghebert@mbl.edu

Discussion of the Human Microbiome Topic Kicks Off 2008 MBL Friday Evening Lecture Series

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, professor and director of the Center for Genome Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO will present the first Friday Evening Lecture of the 2008 season on June 20 at 8:00 PM in the MBL's Lillie Auditorium, located on MBL Street in Woods Hole. His lecture is titled "Dining In With a Few Trillion Friends: Exploring the Human Gut Microbiome." The presentation is free and open to the public.

Our genetic landscape is a summation of the genes embedded in our human genome and the genomes of our microbial partners (the microbiome). Similarly, our metabolic features are an amalgamation of human and microbial traits. An understanding of the range of human genetic and physiologic diversity means that we must characterize our microbiome, as well as the factors that influence the assembly, stability, functions, and variations in our microbiota. The results should provide an additional perspective about contemporary human biology, as we assess how our lifestyles, cultural and societal norms, socioeconomic status, and changing biosphere are influencing our ‘micro’-evolution, and thus our health.

Dr. Gordon is the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He joined the Washington University faculty in 1981 after completing his clinical training in internal medicine and gastroenterology, and spending three years as a research associate at the NIH. He was head of the Department of Molecular Biology and Pharmacology from 1991 to 2004, before becoming director of a new interdepartmental Center for Genome Sciences. From 1994 to 2003, Dr. Gordon also served as director of the University’s Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, which oversees all Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. students in the biological sciences. Dr. Gordon is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. While at the University, he has mentored 90 Ph.D. students and post-doctoral fellows, and won a number of awards for teaching and mentorship.

The MBL’s Friday Evening Lecture Series will continue throughout the summer at the MBL. The remaining lectures in the series are below:

June 27
Dr. Erich D. Jarvis, Duke University
"Evolution of Brain Systems for Vocal Learning"
(The Joe L. Martinez, Jr. & James G. Townsel Endowed Lectureship in SPINES)

July 3 - Porter Lecture
Dr. Clara Franzini-Armstrong, University of Pennsylvania
"From Membranes to Molecules. A Morphologist View of How Muscle Controls Calcium Movements" **Note: Thursday Lecture**

July 11 - Distinguished Alumni Lecture
Dr. Thomas M. Schmidt, Michigan State University, co-director MBL Microbial Diversity course
“The Microbial Basis for Life on Earth”

July 17, 18 - Forbes Lectures
Dr. Susan K. McConnell, Stanford University

July 17: "Assembling a Neural Circuit: Transcriptional Control of Brain Wiring During Development"
July 18: "Building a Brain During Development"

July 25
Dr, Nipam H. Patel, University of California, Berkeley; co-director MBL Embryology course
"Butterfly Wings and Snail Shells: Evolution in Action"

August 1 - Glassman Lecture
Sir Paul M. Nurse, The Rockefeller University; 2001 Nobel Laureate
"The Great Ideas of Biology"

August 8 - Distinguished Alumni Lecture
Dr. Bruce N. Ames, University of California, Berkeley; Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute
"Delaying the Degenerative Diseases of Aging"

August 15
Dr. John P. Holdren, Woods Hole Research Center
"Meeting the Climate-Change Challenge: What Do We Know? What Should We Do?"

August 22
Dr. Gary Ruvkun, Harvard Medical School, co-director MBL Molecular Biology of Aging course
"Universal Genetic Programs of Animal Longevity"


The MBL is a leading international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to discovery and to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. For more information, visit www.MBL.edu