Writing Exercise #15

As the head of a funding agency I believe that there are numerous topics of research that can create monumental advancements in the microbial field in human health. However, I think there are key topics that will have a greater impact than others. First off, I believe that a more refined microbial research therapy will produce the best results when it comes to being able to cure an illness. This is because a unique approach allows the researchers to indulge themselves in a specific topic. Personally, I feel that this is more productive than conducting general experiments that produce “general” results. Additionally, another topic that carries a heavy weight is conducting research experiments that can be seen in real life. Being able to replicate a natural environment and study how things interact in this environment with minimal human influence is essential to understanding the natural complexity of the microbial system. This to me is important because what good to these research findings do if it does not benefit the health of the human race. In conclusion, I firmly believe that these focusing on these two topics can create historic jumps in the field of microbial health. Humans will be able to solve problems unique to one person, all the while being indulged deeper into the complexity of the human microbiome.

Writing Exercise #14

Human Non-infection Diseases:

  • ALS
  • MS
  • Auto-immune diseases
  • Crohns Disease
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
  • Alzheimers Disease
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Allergies


Compared to the diseases that were listed in week 1, I feel that the diseases I have listed for week 10 are far more in depth than those in week 1. Additionally, most of the diseases that I listed were topics that were discussed in class and this has definitely been ingrained into my memory. Moreover, I think that I have a better understanding of the diseases that are listed above than those that I listed for week 1. Overall, I think the most important topics that I can take away from this course is how the gut microbiome affects the brain. I think this sticks with me the most because it’s the topic that I’ve spent the most time on, especially since its for my final review essay. On top of this, I think I will be more aware of how foods affect the gut microbiome and how keeping microbial communities is essential to living a healthy lifestyle.

Writing Exercise #13

In W. P. Hanage’s article, he discusses the importance of five key questions when interpreting scientific literature:

  • Can experiments detect differences that matter?
  • Does the study show causation or correlation?
  • What is the mechanism?
  • How much do experiments reflect reality?
  • Could anything else explain the results?

These 5 questions are very important when interpreting scientific articles because it holds the reader back from believing everything that is said in the article. Just like Hanage states, microbiome science should be met with some sort of skepticism. I think this article as a very interesting read because, throughout the course, I typically believed anything from the assigned readings because I deemed them true, especially if they are assigned by the professor. However, Hanage has a point that not every new finding is exactly relevant. Although the finding may be true, it may not reflect true reality.

The first question is ideal in stating not every finding is the exact truth. Hanage argues that although we are relatively getting good at sequencing genomes, there are things that we shouldn’t overlook just because we feel that there is nothing there. The second question is important because studies can either show causation or correlation, which are two very different things. The distinction between the two can make a finding relevant or irrelevant. The third question challenges the traditional method of experimental approach in the microbiome research field. Hanage states that it has become normal to manipulate experiments to do exactly what we want, which in the end leaves out the raw reality of the experiment. The fourth question follows the third question in the sense that these specific experiments may not reflect what actually happens in the outside world. What good comes out of knowing something that doesn’t occur in the habitats of interest. Lastly, the last question sums up the idea that although there may be findings and data that back up those findings, there could be other factors responsible for such findings. I think the most crucial question to ask if where or not these findings actually reflect reality. Personally, there is no benefit in the experiment if there is no benefit to society in terms of advancements in any field. It is important to understand that not every new finding is a step in the right direction.

Writing Exercise #12

This topic is very interesting to me and decided to discuss it for my final review paper. It’s a strange coincidence that it would show up as one of the assignments post-choosing of my topic. It is speculated that there is a bidirectional communication pathway between the brain and gut microbiota. This pathway can affect different functions of the brain including cognition, mental, and emotional health. In a research paper that was done on mice, selected bacteria were given that caused anxiety-like behavior. This is an example of how the gut microbiota can influence the brain. In addition to this, microbial dysbiosis could lead to a lesser quality of life. Having inflammatory bowel disease can affect the individual’s self-esteem, mood, and just cause increased stress in their daily life. On the other hand, there are ways the brain can influence the microbial community in the gut. For example, the fact that the microbial community is responsible for the digestive functions means that dysbiosis can lead to a disruption in the availability of nutrients. Without sufficient nutrients, metabolic functions may not perform at 100% leading the brain and body to function differently. Overall, these are just a few things that associate the brain with the microbial communities of the body and vice versa. Increased research on the topic can lead to further discoveries about the complexity of the body.

Writing Exercise #11

The peer review process went very well. I feel that the outline that was given helped a lot in being able to provide a very good peer-review. It felt both good and daunting to critique someone else’s writing because I was not sure that I was providing the best peer-review. However, a big part about this is being confident in your own writing ability to critique someone else’s work. For this assignment, I was given both a relatively good paper and a not-so good paper. This made it easier for me to understand what makes a paper better than another. I think this will help me for my final essay because I will be able to apply the things that I liked in the papers that I read in my own paper. Additionally, now I can use the document given for the peer-review to critique my own work, which will help me strengthen my position in the paper and create an easy to read but powerful paper.

Writing Exercise #10

There are many scientific articles out there that are peer-reviewed, but what does this mean? According to Merriam-webster, a peer review is a process by which something proposed (as for research or publication) is evaluated by a group of experts in the appropriate field. In other words, experts are creating an article, with their own hypothesis, based on multiple research experiments. Below are the pros and cons of such a process.


  • New hypothesis
  • More evidence (both specific and general)
  • Provided feedback/ own opinions on topic
  • Allows writer to choose the most important sources for their statement


  • Invalid arguments
  • Variable interpretation of sources
  • Can be done by anyone
  • Non-credible sources


There is no doubt peer-reviewed articles can become a strong source of information, however it can also create lots of confusion. The main issue with these type of articles is that the author(s) may interpret their sources differently than another group might. In addition to this, authors can pick and choose which articles they seem best fit to provide support for their statements. This can bend the truth to make other things seem true or false, and wether this is an advantage or disadvantage is up to you.

Writing Exercise #9

Changes in human behavior due to decreased exposure to microbes

  • Decreased willingness to adventure
  • Decreased appetite/ willingness to try new foods
  • Irritability due to sickness
  • Increased stress due to being immunocompromised
  • Anti-social

A decreased exposure to microbes can affect the quality of life for anyone and everyone. Microbes create symbiotic relationships with humans that create a stronger immune and digestive system, two very essential functions of the human body in a survival of the fittest world. Humans who aren’t exposed to a necessary amount of microbes in their childhood and throughout their life risk the possibility of allergies and a weaker immune system. This can later on affect the persons lifestyle in numerous ways including not being able to travel, try new foods, or experience new things. Maintaining a healthy microbiota community throughout the body is essential to live a long and positive life.

Writing Exercise #8

I think the most interesting that I’ve learned so far in this class is gut microbiota and there are many diseases associated with it. However, I am also interested in the relationship between mother and newborn with regards to the development of the gut microbiota. I think I’d like to explore more about the relationship between the mother and newborn but am afraid that I will not be able to find enough research on it, however, there also be more research on it since giving birth is happening all the time and being able to understand all the science behind it will be very interesting.

By focusing on the relationship between the mother and newborn with relation to the development of gun microbiota, I will able to learn more about the things that affect the process. Things to focus on could be the onset of certain diseases in the children, prior to giving birth, and data on the children several years later in life. Types of diseases that may occur, whether genetics is a major part of it, or if the community/environment is somehow related to it. This type of research would be very interesting to know especially when it may be something that happens to me in the future.

After some time free writing, I think that I would like research more about the development of the gut microbiota prior to birth and post birth.

Writing Exercise #7

As babies, humans depend on their mothers for most of, if not all of their needs. They depend on them for food, security, and knowledge. However, it goes much deeper than that because babies also depend on their mothers for growing their immunity. This can mean through the transfer of healthy bacteria that will colonize on the outside and inside of the body. During this time it is crucial for the mother to be aware of the things that she is transmitting to her newborn infant. Below are possible ways that will alter the natural interactions between the mother and infant.

Cesarean Section

Cesarean section, also known as C-section can be a very scary thing option for mothers in child labor. It goes against the natural method of pregnancy and the first practices of C-section caused many complications such as bacterial infection for both the mother and newborn. Thanks to advancements, modern technology has decreased the rates of complications and made it practically safe for both parties.

Formula Feeding

As infants, the only food intake that we need is the breast milk of our mothers. This milk holds all the nutrients necessary for us to grow healthy. However, it has become popular to use baby formula as an alternative to breast milk since some mothers aren’t able to produce the amount of milk needed to feed their newborns. Although it is safe to consume, the growth of the healthy bacteria in the gut may not have been what it would’ve been solely off of breast milk. This alternate way of feeding may change how the gut microbial community is constructed.


Mothers who are on antibiotics prior to pregnancy increase the risk of their newborn generating more proteobacteria than normal. Proteobacteria decreases other genuses of bacteria such as Lactobacillales, Streptococcaceae, and Gemellaceae. Members of the genus lactobacillales aid in the digestion of breast milk.


There are many factors that go into creating a healthy gut microbiome for newborn infants. The process starts during the pregnancy and keeps on going until the newborn has created their own healthy gut microbiome. However, there are many chances of transmission of other bacteria that could alter the growth of the gut microbiome. It is essential for the mother to properly feed their newborns and introduce them to a healthy amount of the outside world. If all is done right, the gut microbiome and immune system of the child will be able to take on anything the world throws at it.

Writing Exercise #6

Antibiotics have always been something that I’ve seen as medicine. This is because I only needed to take it if I had a severe cold or flu. I’ve also heard from peers that they’ve needed to take antibiotics for things such as strep or a staph infection. Additionally, my parents have always told me that antibiotics were the strongest form of medicine and would only be used if the body or other medicines were not capable of solving the issue. Prior to college, I had a vague idea of what antibiotics were and how it worked. However, after consistent exposure to the biology of the body and how antibiotics work, I’ve come to realize that antibiotics can treat more things than I recently thought of. When it comes to gut microbiota, antibiotics could be used to treat different inflammatory bowel diseases. In conclusion, I think the research on how bacteria can be fought with bacteria has proven beneficial in the medical world. Nonetheless, the human body is exceptional at what it does, I think that antibiotics should only be used in cases where the body has failed to solve the problem. Maintaining a healthy body and lifestyle will improve the human body’s chance in fighting off harmful bacteria.