This Week In Biofilms And Microbiomes: Monday November 30, 2015

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

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Microbiome profiling company uBiome has frequently made the headlines recently, and there was more uBiome-related news this week, with its founders Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte launching an AngelList Syndicate to fund other microbiome startups. TechCrunch spoke to Richman to find out why she is highlighting other companies in uBiome’s space with this fund. Richman explained that the fund will focus on companies complementary to rather than in competition with uBiome, i.e. companies providing therapeutics rather than diagnostics.

Also on the subject of funding, website for healthcare practitioners Healio this week highlighted the National Institutes of Health (NHS)’s award to biotechnology firm Symberix of two Small Business Innovative Research grants to fund the development of microbiome-based drugs. The grants will help to fund the company’s two preclinical development programs in lead optimization for non-antibiotic, small molecules to treat chemotherapy-induced diarrhea associated with Camptosar (irinotecan, Pfizer) and NSAID-induced toxicities of the lower GI tract.

Finally, this paper from Cell attracted a great deal of media attention this week, being on the media-friendly topics of the gut microbiome and diet. In the study, researchers found high variability in postprandial glycemic response across individuals who consumed the same meals. They then developed a model based on a wide range of personal characteristics, such as a person's BMI and gut microbial profile, which could predict their response to a given meal.

In its coverage, UK tabloid The Daily Mail went with the headline ‘No ONE diet fits all: How your body reacts to Atkins, Paleo and the 5:2 is determined by your metabolism'. In response, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) covered both the paper and The Daily Mail's interpretation of it in this clear and useful review.

We’d love to hear what you’ve been reading this week. 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 Thanks!