Tag Archives: Center for Ethics in Science and Technology

Shaping Our Dynamic Microbiomes for Lifelong Health

Our life-spans are ever-increasing, but our health-spans are not, leading to long periods of unpleasant and expensive suffering with chronic conditions. Many of these conditions have recently been linked to the microbiome. We are constantly shaping our microbiomes through the foods we eat, the environments we experience, even the people we live and work with.

Through the American Gut Project, the largest crowdsourced and crowdfunded citizen-science project yet conducted, we now know about the microbiomes of many types of people, from the healthiest to the sickest. Potentially real-time analysis of our microbiomes could guide our daily decisions in a way that optimizes our microbiomes for extending our health-span. Although the potential benefits of such research are clear, what are the risks (e.g., privacy concerns) that need to be identified and addressed?

Rob Knight is Professor of Pediatrics, Bioengineering and Computer Science & Engineering and is Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego. He authored “Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes” and co-authored “Dirt is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System.” His work combines microbiology, DNA sequencing, ecology and computer science to understand the vast numbers of microbes that inhabit our bodies and our planet. He was recently honored with the 2017 Massry Prize for his microbiome research.

Watch Shaping Our Dynamic Microbiomes For Lifelong Health – Exploring Ethics

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Silent Spring’s Legacy: Alternatives to Insecticides

To mark the 50th anniversary of “Silent Spring,” Rachel Carson’s landmark book that helped launch the environmental movement, the San Diego-based Center for Ethics in Science and Technology is kicking off a new lecture series highlighting the legacy and progress Carson’s work helped create.

In the first talk in the series, Stephen Welter of San Diego State University focuses on biologically-based alternatives to insecticide use in American agriculture that also consider non-target environmental effects, worker safety issues, and consumer needs as well as the more traditional models of economic trade-offs.

Watch “Alternatives to Insecticides: High Impact Solutions Without Environmental Trade-offs” and check out all the videos in the “Exploring Ethics” series.

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