Trust your gut

Current

By Philip Fine

“We have bacteria and viruses in and all over our body, but what’s incredible in the amount and diversity,” says Dr. Corinne Maurice.

Dr. Corinne Maurice studies viruses that don’t make you sick. These virtuous viruses are “not like the flu virus, HIV or Hep C,” says the Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology. They’re called phages, and the ones she studies are located in the gut, where they eat up bacteria. Maurice is trying to better understand their overall importance in the balance of a healthy gut. She compares the gut microbiome to the African savannah; its bacteria are antelopes and its phages are lions that attack the antelopes. She looks at how phages interact with bacteria in healthy individuals. “We have bacteria and viruses in and all over our body, but what’s incredible is the amount and diversity,” says the Canada Research Chair in Gut Microbial Physiology. “My particular niche is in finding out what these phages are doing.” It could one day become commonplace for patients to provide a swab or sample to receive a prescription based on their unique microbiota. “Knowing your bacteria, we would know which antibiotic or which viruses to give you to make sure that the pathogens are eliminated without altering your ‘good’ bacteria.” (Philip Fine)

 

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