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Microbiologist Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello to discuss the coevolution of microbes and humans, on February 12, 2013

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- University of Puerto Rico microbiologist Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello will discuss "Our Microbial Genome: Old Stories of Evolution, New Tales of Modernity" on Tuesday, February 12, at 5:30pm in Taylor Hall room 203. This event is free and open to the public and co-sponsored by the anthropology and biology departments and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.

Dominguez-Bello will address evidence that the microbes that constitute the current human microbiota co-evolved with humans and maintain complex community and host interactions. Because these microbes are mostly “vertically transmitted” -- from mother to child -- they have evolved within each human group and provide a view of human ancestry. In particular, Dominguez-Bello will discuss using the bacteria Helicobacter pylori as a marker of ancestry and migrations and will advocate a wider approach to the study of human ancestry based on the human microbiome.

Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello is associate professor of biology at the University of Puerto Rico and visiting associate professor in the Department of Medicine of New York University for the 2012-13 academic year. By integrating data from microbiology, genomics/metagenomics, ecology, physiology, anthropology, and biostatistics, her lab addresses broad questions of how microbes and hosts interact and how these interactions drive microbial evolution, diversity, and symbiosis. The lab’s current research ranges from bacterial symbiosis in the foregut of mammals and birds, to the effect of lifestyle on the microbiota of animals and humans and antibiotic resistance in the microbiota. Next-generation sequencing of the human microbiome is also being conducted in people who have integrated different levels of western lifestyles in the Amazonas and Southern Africa.

Dominguez-Bello received her PhD. in microbiology from the University of Aberdeen and has published extensively in the journals of the field. She is a fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America and served as Ambassador of the American Society for Microbiology for the Central America and Caribbean region from 2008-2011.

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Vassar College is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, and directions to the campus can be found at www.vassar.edu/directions.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, February 5, 2013