​This Week In Biofilms And Microbiomes: Monday October 19, 2015

A round-up of what we read last week from the media's coverage of biofilms and microbiomes research.

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Popular Science featured a good read this week – complete with slide show – on imaging gut microbiota. Informed by a paper published in Cell Host & Microbe, author Kathryn Harmon Courage explained how, using a new imaging technique, researchers have been able to see, in an unprecedented level of detail, what affect fibre – or lack of – has on microbes in the gut.

What’s more, Kathryn Harmon Courage is working on a book on gut microbiota and diet, which will certainly be on our 2016 reading list.

This whistle-stop tour of how metagenomics is being used to understand a variety of microbial communities was published by GEN this week. It provides a summary of – and in some cases an update on – recently published papers, including:

Medscape reported on a presentation at the American Society of Human Genetics 2015 conference given by Ran Blekhman from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, US. Entitled ‘Genomic landscape of colorectal tumors shapes the microbiome of the tumor microenvironment’, the presentation described how the researchers studied the genetic differences between healthy colon cells and tumor cells from adults with colorectal cancer, and found that specific tumor mutations are associated with the presence of specific bacteria in the gut.

Finally, we have to mention the launch of the “first microbiome app” by microbiome-testing company uBiome. The app allows users to explore their gut bacteria and contribute to uBiome’s research, and is based on Apple’s ResearchKit framework. “uBiome’s free iPhone app connects the phone in your pocket to our powerful technology in the lab, enabling users to directly contribute to enhancing human health through better understanding of the human microbiome,” said Dr Zachary Apte, CTO and co-founder of uBiome.

We’d love to hear what you’ve been reading this week – as well as whether you’ve downloaded uBiome’s app. Please comment below.

Jen Thoroughgood

Former Head of Communities, Springer Nature

I'm no longer with Springer Nature so please send your community-related queries to communities@nature.com. Thanks!