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04 The Human Microbiome

english language

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
Future Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney, Sydney

Dr. Manimozhiyan ARUMUGAM

Associate Professor and Group Leader, The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen

Software Engineer, Infosys Technologies, India Research Associate, Washington University, St. Louis PhD in Computational Biology, EMBL - European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg
 Since 2013 Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen

Dr. Maureen O'MALLEY

Future Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney, Sydney

Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney Senior Research Fellow, Egenis, University of Exeter Research Fellow, Egenis, University of Exeter
since 2012

Seminar Week

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Kategorie: all Culture Plenary Social


15:00 - 15:15 Opening of the European Forum Alpbach 2014 Plenary
15:15 - 15:30 Opening Concert, Part 1: sAmo for Flute, Violoncello and Accordion Culture
15:30 - 16:30 Opening Speeches Plenary
17:00 - 17:30 Opening Concert, Part 2: Blink, Think & Listen Culture
17:30 - 19:00 Presentation of the Seminars Plenary
19:00 - 20:00 Bread and Wine Social


07 Ethical Implications of Religious Worldviews Seminar
05 Creativity and Innovation for Growth Seminar
08 Art and Protest Seminar
03 An Energy Transition for the Future Seminar
01 Sustainable Peace and Security – Who Cares? Seminar
02 The Politics of Emotions: Diagnosis and Historical Transformations Seminar
06 1814 – 1914 – 1989: Paradigm Shifts in Public International Law and Politics Seminar
04 The Human Microbiome Seminar
13 Macroeconomics – The Return of Ideologies Seminar
14 Human – Machine – Robotics Seminar
11 Feeding the World Seminar
15 The Aftermath of 1914-1918: Images of the Great War Seminar
09 Europe and Its Neighbours – EU External Relations at the Crossroads? Seminar
10 Collective Memory – Present Focus on the Past Seminar
16 The Key to Good Governance Seminar
12 Decisions Under Uncertainty Seminar
17 Media from a Theoretical Perspective Seminar


16:00 - 17:00 Vernissage: Let the Children Play. On the 25th Anniversary of the UN-Declaration of the Rights of the Child Culture


17:00 - 18:30 Literature Talk: Wars and Civil Wars in the Mirror of Current World Literature Culture


16:00 - 17:30 Courage. In Memoriam Fritz Molden Culture


17:30 - 18:30 Theatre Performance: Free Association Culture


17:00 - 20:00 Alpbach IdeaJam: SEM meets EDU Plenary