building a picture of Latin American microbiomes


I’m in my moist lab on the Microbial Genomics Laboratory of the Pasteur Institute of Montevideo in Uruguay, which I arrange in 2019. Most of my group’s initiatives begin right here, however many transfer into bioinformatics analysis on the opposite aspect of the hall, or by way of distant connections to computing techniques elsewhere on this planet — usually on the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Hinxton, UK, the place I’m additionally affiliated.

One long-term analysis purpose is to raised perceive the intestine microbiome — the composition and steadiness of micro organism within the intestine — and the way it varies throughout populations, to assist deal with many circumstances. It’s particularly necessary for Latin American nations, as a result of current human-microbiome databases come from wealthier nations — in North America, Europe and China, particularly — the place a lot of the sampling has been achieved. This results in bias. You’ll be able to’t make dependable medical selections on intestine well being for a Latin American particular person with European knowledge. Latin America has a number of the highest weight problems charges on this planet, so a greater understanding would possibly assist policymakers.

I lead a consortium of scientists in Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Peru and French Guiana. We collect knowledge on microbiomes in these extremely heterogeneous nations. I see it as a puzzle; we have to discover items from throughout the area earlier than we are able to put the image collectively.

My long-term dream is to assist different scientific communities (in Jap Europe, southeast Asia or Africa, for instance) to gather and analyse microbiome knowledge, in order that medical interventions make sense for native populations, diets and cultures.

As soon as I’ve achieved that, maybe I can return to cooking — one in every of my hobbies — or rising greens. My father is a farmer in Cardona within the southwest of Uruguay, and I go to usually. It’s satisfying doing worthwhile analysis that’s particular to this continent.

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