Lactose Intolerance and the Microbiome

Lactose Intolerance and the Microbiome

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Hi!  My name is Courtney Smith and I am a Stanford student working in the Relman Lab at Stanford University.

In the lab we're studying a lot of different aspects of the human microbiota, which is a collective term for all the microscopic life forms that are usually found on or in the human body.  This is a pretty hot topic right now.  For well over a century, people have known about 'germs', the microbes that cause disease, and we've made spectacular progress in reducing the toll of infectious diseases.  People have also known for a long time that lots of microbes live on and in our bodies even when we're not sick.  But that fact never got much attention, until recently.  The reason it's such a hot topic now is that we've discovered that the human microbiota isn't just along for the ride, it's working hard to keep us healthy.

Right now we're enrolling participants for a 3 month-long study of the microbes that live in the large intestine, aka the gut microbes, which account for the vast majority of the human microbiota.  It's important to study this stuff, because we know the gut microbiota affects our health, but we don't entirely understand how, and we don't understand all the factors that affect the gut microbiota.  This website is part of our effort to recruit participants, so you can find out more about our study and check to see if you're likely to be eligible to participate.  But we also want to inspire and motivate you to participate, and the best way to do that is tell you about many of the cool discoveries scientists are making about our microbiota and how it affects our health.

If you want to learn about the microbiome feel free to read more in the about the microbiome section.

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Thanks for your interest in our work!