The lung as a model for studying host-microbiome interactions
The human microbiome (microbial communities and their gene content) is composed of trillions of cells in multiple ecological niches. Although the lung was initially believed to be sterile in the normal host, recent data indicate that microbial communities are detectable in individuals without lung disease. Wide gaps still exist in our understanding of occult infections in chronic lung diseases and in translating information about the microbiome to clinical settings. While traditional microbiology has emphasized the ability to culture and study microorganisms individually, the genomics revolution has facilitated the study of microorganisms and their ecology or relationships with one another and their environment. The focus of this presentation will be on the development or refinement of new methods for collecting, generating and analyzing the lung microbiome.