This Week In Biofilms And Microbiomes: Monday December 14, 2015

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

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This week in Science Happens, a new video series from STAT , Carl Zimmer gave us a peek inside the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering in Boston where Dr. Pamela Silver and colleagues are trying to create living medicine from gut microbiota. By altering the DNA of gut-dwelling microbes, she and her colleagues are designing organisms that can monitor the body and produce drugs on demand. Check out the video here.

Another study on gut microbiota published in Cell shows how cold exposure leads to marked changes in the composition of intestinal bacteria, referred to as cold microbiota which mediates remodeling of the fat and intestinal tissues, helping the host to withstand periods of high energy demand associated with long periods of cold exposure, thereby helping to protect against hypothermia.

Leading microbial genomics company uBiome was recently in news again for releasing Predictive Engine for Over 100 Metabolic Functions Based on Microbiome Data. The company introduced a new tool exploring the metabolic functions of the microbiome, including vitamin synthesis, metabolic pathways, and cellular properties across 106 dimensions.

Finally, an intriguing study published in Science caught the attention of several media outlets. Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of California, San Diego showed how some microbial communities associated with humans tick in a predictable, clock-like succession following death and could not only be used to estimate time of death in different seasons, but as a way to determine the original location of moved corpses and even help in locating buried corpses. The study holds great potential applications in forensics as well as other areas.

Richa Dandona

Partnerships and Operations Manager, Nature Partner Journals, Nature Research