The Microbiome and Its Influence on Human Health and Well-Being Topic of July 10 MBL Friday Evening Lecture

Jack GilbertWOODS HOLE, MA—The microbiome—the communities of trillions of microorganisms that live in our guts—has been implicated in numerous aspects of our health and well-being. The average human gut contains 500 to 1,000 bacterial species, which contribute to our ability to digest our food, our potential to gain weight, and even influences aspects of our mental and physiological development. A growing body of research links imbalances in human microbiomes to ailments from allergies to autism.

Microbial ecologist Jack Gilbert will present the most exciting and recent discoveries in this area and provide a guidebook to understanding microbiomes and their role in human diet and lifestyle at the MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) Friday Evening Lecture, Friday, July 10. His lecture, “The Invisible Influence of the Microbiome” will be held at 8:00 PM in the MBL’s Lillie Auditorium, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole (also simulcast in Rowe Building, 10 MBL Street; and live streamed here). The lecture is free and open to the public.

Jack Gilbert is Group Leader for Microbial Ecology at Argonne National Laboratory, Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery and Department of Ecology and Evolution at University of Chicago, Associate Director of the Institute of Genomic and Systems Biology, and Adjunct Senior Scientist in the MBL’s Bay Paul Center. He earned his Ph.D. from Unilever and Nottingham University, UK and received his postdoctoral training at Queens University, Canada. He subsequently returned to the UK to Plymouth Marine Laboratory as a senior scientist until his move to Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago in 2010.

Among other projects, Gilbert leads the Earth Microbiome Project, Home Microbiome Project, Hospital Microbiome Project, and co-founded the research initiative American Gut. In 2014 he was recognized on Crain’s Business Chicago’s 40 Under 40 List.

The Friday Evening Lecture Series will continue throughout the summer at the MBL. The remaining lectures in the series are below. For more information, visit

July 17  
Forbes Lecture – “Electrical Signaling: Life in the Fast Lane“ – William Catterall, University of Washington

July 24  
Porter Lecture – “Development of External Genitalia: From Evolutionary Origins to Congenital Malformations” – Martin Cohn, University of Florida; Howard Hughes Medical Institute

July 31
E.B. Wilson History and Philosophy of Science Lecture – “Why We Should Trust Science: Perspectives from the History and Philosophy of Science” – Naomi Oreskes, Harvard University

August 7   
Director’s Lecture – “Microbial Dark Matter” – Edward Rubin, Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute

August 14       
Glassman Lecture – “Ecology in a Human Biosphere” – Erle Ellis, University of Maryland, Baltimore County


The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is dedicated to scientific discovery and improving the human condition through research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. Founded in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, in 1888, the MBL is a private, nonprofit institution and an affiliate of the University of Chicago.