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.
I would fund more research on probiotics and how we could find probiotics that are specific for individual people. I think in western medicine we see probiotics as a mainstream alternative method to treat bowel irregularity. Very insufficient research has allowed for a lot of companies such as “Activia” to falsely claim their yogurt has a lot of helpful bacteria for your gut or has opened a lot of misinformation about what probiotics can do and can’t do.
More research on probiotics could allow us to understand how to better treat and prevent non infectious diseases while also diminishing the negative side effects that antibiotics have. Learning more about probiotics could also lower the amount of antibiotic resistance and overall make antibiotics use very rare. I believe an investment on a healthier alternative to treating diseases and infections can start by conducting more research on what situations make taking probiotics helpful and to individualize certain probiotics for certain individuals.