Our Team Perspectives on World Microbiome Day

Here at Microbiome Insights, we are excited to celebrate the 3rd annual World Microbiome Day. The theme for World Microbiome Day 2020 is diversity. With this in mind, our team shared insights on diversity, the microbiome, and their perspectives for future microbiome research. 

According to our CEO, Malcolm Kendall: "Increased diversity in microbial communities is associated with a more healthy microbiome. It also enhances the genetic potential and functionality. The same can be said for a company or organization; a more diverse organization is healthier and more functional." Malcolm also highlights that as a company, we embrace diversity of background and perspective and collaborate as equals making Microbiome Insights stronger and a better organization.

Speaking to what the company is doing to promote diversity in the microbiome and our industry, “We are focused on advancing science from academic research to corporate R & D and product development, working  across diverse disciplines, areas of science and industries to enhance and accelerate our clients microbiome research."

A significant trend in microbiome research, according to Malcolm, is related to the clinical validation of microbiome-based or microbiome-focused therapeutics: "There are several later-stage clinical trials that can unlock the potential of this area." He also points to the compelling scientific data demonstrating the importance of the microbiome in food, nutrition, diet, cosmetics, and skin health.



Malcolm's top reads:

The Whole-Body Microbiome: How to Harness Microbes—Inside and Out—for Lifelong Health

The cancer microbiome

The Cancer Microbiome: Distinguishing Direct and Indirect Effects Requires a Systemic View.

Reduced genetic potential for butyrate fermentation in the gut microbiome of infants who develop allergic sensitization 

Mining the infant gut microbiota for therapeutic targets against atopic disease.

Thinking bigger: How early-life environmental exposures shape the gut microbiome and influence the development of asthma and allergic disease

An epigenetic link between the gut microbiome and immune responses in atopy

New Insights into the Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors That Shape the Human Skin Microbiome

Are noncommunicable diseases communicable?

Depletion of SCFA-fermenting gut bacteria alters the epigenome of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. 


From a scientific perspective, Pedro Dimitriu, our Director of R&D and Bioinformatics shares his excitement on working on such a diverse and integrative field: "Microbiome science builds conceptually on various disciplines that have long been an interest of mine – (microbial) ecology, bioinformatics, and (micro)biology”. Pedro also believes in the constant evolution of the field and points out some interesting trends like:


  • Big Science: Multi-year, large-cohort studies being more common over the next few years.


  • Research sharing: With larger studies, there will be more publicly available data. In parallel, community-driven science and data adhering to FAIR – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable – principles will be on demand by the scientific community. 


  • Multiomics: Metabolomics, metatranscriptomics, and metaproteomics will consolidate as tools to measure the in vivo contribution of microbes to disease and other phenotypes.


  • Disease models: More accurate, predictive animal and in silico models enable rational design of live biotherapeutics.


  • Other general trends: The microbiome field will continue to become more of an applied field, continuing to focus on explanation and prediction. The availability of new (and potentially cheaper) sequencing technologies and other microbial readouts will increasingly shape the kinds of questions we ask and how we go about answering them.


For Khoi, our Senior Bioinformatician, working in the field is a fantastic opportunity to apply diverse analysis and cutting-edge science like machine learning. Khoi also believes that some of the next significant trends in microbiome research will be related to understanding the microbiome's causative mechanisms related to therapeutics, nutrition, supplements, and lifestyles. He also sees potential in the predictive value of the microbiome in disease diagnostics, precision medicine, and personalized nutrition.




Pedro and Khoi's top reads are:

Andrew Gelman’s blog 

Dynamic Ecology blog

Establishing or Exaggerating Causality for the Gut Microbiome: Lessons from Human Microbiota-Associated Rodents

 Translating the Gut Microbiome: Ready for the Clinic?

 Microbiome: Focus on Causation and Mechanism


Our business development team is in constant contact with leaders in the industry and top researchers in the microbiome. According to Iryna, our International Sales Account Manager, the most exciting thing about microbiome research is cutting edge science and the creative application of genetic sequencing technology. Iryna also points out a growing interest in microbiome treatment as an alternative to standard drugs and highlights significant trends in microbiome research related to metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases.

Karl, our Director of Sales and Business Development, is excited at the prospect of a live biotherapeutic product getting FDA approval in the near future. Karl believes that shallow shotgun sequencing has been a game changer in recent years by enabling researchers to gain both high resolution taxonomic and functional profiles for large cohort studies. In terms of trends, Karl thinks that using microbiome analysis to predict individual responses to food is showing great promise in the development of personalized nutrition strategies. 




Karl and Iryna's top reads are:

Characterizing dysbiosis of gut microbiome in PD: evidence for overabundance of opportunistic pathogens

Cholesterol Metabolism by Uncultured Human Gut Bacteria Influences Host Cholesterol Level 

Characteristics of pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection and potential evidence for persistent fecal viral shedding

Intestinal fungi are causally implicated in microbiome assembly and immune development in mice

Kristina Campbell, microbiome science writer (@bykriscampbell)



Ultimately, our team is always happy to celebrate World Microbiome Day, to recognize the hard work from all the scientists in the field and to share our excitement regarding breakthroughs in the field. Diversity is a very appropriate theme for World Microbiome Day, and we pride ourselves in being a diverse company and are excited to support the broad range of all our clients’ microbiome studies.


About Microbiome Insights

Microbiome Insights, Inc. is a global leader providing end-to-end microbiome sequencing and comprehensive bioinformatic analysis. The company is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada where samples from around the world are processed in its College of American Pathologist (CAP) accredited laboratory. Working with clients from pharma, biotech, nutrition, cosmetic and agriculture companies as well as with world leading academic and government research institutions, Microbiome Insights has supported over 925 microbiome studies from basic research to commercial R&D and clinical trials. The company's team of expert bioinformaticians and data scientists deliver industry leading insights including biomarker discovery, machine-learning based modelling and customized bioinformatics analysis.