Prompt: Imagine yourself as the head of a funding agency (like the National Institute of Health) in which your job is to look at proposals for research projects and decide what projects to award funding to. Based on your readings this term, discuss a research project (or projects) that you would be most excited about funding as they relate to learning more about microbial influences on human health. As part of your response, consider what are we likely to learn from the project and how that might be important in future healthcare decisions.
Response: Based on my readings this term, I would be most excited about a research project concerning the gut microbial community and various psychological diseases or also concerning human nutrition and the gut. I think that there is a lot of potential within these areas that has yet to be explored, and it certainly should be explored. The gut plays a vital role within the body, so it is possible that it could be linked to more than just obesity nutrition-wise and could also be linked to other psychological diseases. From these projects, we could likely learn how to better inform the general public on their eating patterns, medication consumption, and overall gut health. These could be incredibly important to future healthcare decisions because if it turns out that antibiotics are more harmful than we initially think, perhaps these will have to start being administered in a different way. Also, on a bigger scale, if there is a connection between the gut and nutrition patterns, it could possibly control heart disease, diabetes, and obesity rates. This in turn would kill the number one killer in the United States, which would be absolutely extraordinary. If we could learn that psychological health and gut health are connected, there could be certain supplements available that focus on more of a holistic approach instead of handing out anti-depressants to people, which could likely save patients money and adverse side effects.