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uBiome CEO Jessica Richman Speaks at TEDMED, Launches Website
Date:4/18/2013

atest research suggests that the correct balance of microbes serves to keep potential pathogens in check and regulate the immune system. Microbes also perform essential functions such as digesting food and synthesizing vitamins.

Much research suggests that microbial activity influences mammalian mood and behavior. Studies have linked microbiome states to conditions including obesity, diabetes, autism, depression, anxiety, eczema, chronic sinusitis, and numerous gut disorders. Infant health appears to benefit from a proper seeding of microbes at birth, with health consequences continuing into adolescence. uBiome allows the public to partner with researchers to begin to understand how their microbes are affecting their health.

A decade after the human genome was sequenced, 2012 marked a major milestone: the completion of the NIH Human Microbiome Project. This project sequenced the genomes of the thousands of species of microbes living in synergy with about 250 healthy volunteers, defining a baseline for what "healthy" means. Researchers are now asking how the "healthy" state itself arises, for instance, how lifestyle, diet, and exercise influence the microbiome, as well as how conditions like Crohn’s and diabetes come about. Sequencing a larger number and greater diversity of individuals may offer answers.

"We believe the biological information era is going to follow the same trend that the internet did. When citizens became empowered to explore the internet via search engines like Google, usage skyrocketed. With uBiome, people can have cutting edge access to the latest in biomedical research. This is going to change things in a big way," said uBiome CEO Jessica Richman.

Scientific research in the 21st century has seen great strides in collaborative practices, with “citizen science” allowing professional scientists and amateurs to collaborate on large-scale research questions. uBiome takes citizen science
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