Walkway at the Salk Institute, San Diego, CA for Microbes within the Host Conference

Microbes within the Host Conference
at Salk Institute

Our understanding of the human body and the way it interacts with the environment has undergone a massive transformation in recent years. The discovery that microbes – including fungi, bacteria, viruses, and parasites – were responsible for terrible disease, led us to wage war on pathogens and greatly improve human health. But we are now realizing that most microorganisms are not harmful and in fact, are completely essential to human life. The blooming field of microbiome science is shifting perspectives on the way we live and the way we view the natural world.

At the January 2019 Salk IPSEN Conference in San Diego, California, a diverse group of scientists and medical professionals shared their exciting projects and latest research, exploring our intricate relationship with the microbes that live in and around us. This was an inspiring event showcasing the most progressive, cutting-edge research and brilliant minds studying the microbiome and its connection to health and disease.


  • The modern diet of ultra-processed foods, screen time, nature deficit, stress, and sleep disturbance are all factors that drive disruptions in microbial ecosystems, also known as dysbiosis. Early dysbiosis influences the long-term risk of chronic inflammation.

-Microbiome and Dysbiosis Immunometabolism, Susan Prescott

  • Autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, depression, cognition, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s are linked to the microbiome

-The Gut Microbiome-Brain Connection in a Model of Parkinson’s Disease, Sarkis Mazmanian

  • Factors affecting brain health and disease:
    • Prenatal environment
    • Genetics
    • Microbiota
    • Environmental exposures

-Gut Feelings: The Microbiome as a Regulator of Brain and Behavior Across the Lifespan, John Cryan

  • The skin has its own microbiome. Harsh detergents could alter this delicate ecosystem and negatively affect the immune system

-Homeostatic Immunity to the Microbiota, Yasmine Belkaid

  • Our microbiome has changed, and we are losing diversity due to the widespread overuse of antibiotics and other medications, C-section births, extensive bathing, and bottle feeding with formula

-Microbial Communities in Health and Disease, Marty Blaser