04 The Human Microbiome
The influx of molecular data into microbiology is transforming evolutionary and ecological perspectives on microbes. These transformations go beyond the exclusively microbial world to affect how we understand the environment, health, living entities, and life itself. In this seminar, we will focus on the reconceptualisation of the human microbiome that research has brought about and what this research means for traditional concepts of organismal individuality, community, and Darwinian processes. While these analyses can be understood as philosophical , the seminar will show how these concepts are central to current scientific practice in microbiome research.
Some introductory recommended reading (with annotations):
Dupré J, O Malley MA (2007) Metagenomics and biological ontology. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 38: 834-846.
(A bit dated now, but it points to some of the core issues we will discuss.)
McDonald D, et al. (2013) From molecules to dynamic biological communities. Biology and Philosophy 28: 241-259.
(Scientists writing philosophically about metagenomics and the shifts in methodology and conceptualization brought about by metagenomics.)
Pollan M (2013) Some of my best friends are germs. New York Times, May 15th.
(A popular piece of writing that gets at some important issues. Very accessible, so it s a good starting place; there are several other such articles in the NYT and New Yorker.)
Zarraonaindia I, et al. (2013) Beyond the genome: community-level analysis of the microbial world. Biology and Philosophy 28: 261-282.
(More scientists writing philosophically, drawing attention in particular to conceptual and modelling issues microbial ecology needs to address now it has metagenomic data.)
Associate Professor and Group Leader, The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen
|1999-2000Software Engineer, Infosys Technologies, India|
|2003-2006Research Associate, Washington University, St. Louis|
|2010PhD in Computational Biology, EMBL - European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg|
|Since 2013 Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen|
Future Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney, Sydney
|since 2012Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney|
|2008-2012Senior Research Fellow, Egenis, University of Exeter|
|2004-2008Research Fellow, Egenis, University of Exeter|