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Bacteriophage – the known unknowns of the gut microbiome

Thursday 2 May 2019, 2.00PM to 3.00pm

Speaker(s): Dr Colin Hill, APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork

Bacteriophage are the most abundant biological entities on earth, and play a role in shaping bacterial communities.  This is also the case in the human gut.  We have performed a combination of wet-lab and bioinformatics approaches to try to understand the role of bacteriophage in the gut microbiome, in the process identifying tens of thousands of novel phage genomes of extraordinary diversity.  We have also isolated in culture some phage which had only been seen previously ‘in silico’.  These include the crAssphage, the most abundant phage in the human microbiome, which can represent 95% of all of the phage in some individuals.  I will describe some of the challenges and rewards of studying this complex community, including an unpublished longitudinal study which provides insights into the stability and uniqueness of individual human ‘phageomes’.

Host - Fred Antson

Location: Biology M052