Despite 20th-century medical breakthroughs, many diseases have increased alarmingly, including obesity, diabetes, asthma, allergies, autism, and autoimmune diseases, with causes unknown and cures unavailable. Now, it is clear that our microbiome, the group of diverse microorganisms that lives in and on us, plays a critical role in our health, affecting metabolism, immunity, and even our brains. In short, a healthy microbiome keeps us healthy.
In addition to impacting human health, microbial diversity affects the wellbeing of plants, animals, and ecosystems. Modern human activities are degrading the earth’s microbiomes, which affects agriculture and food systems, ocean ecology and climate, and global biodiversity.
What if you could adjust your microbial makeup to its healthiest composition by taking personalized treatments? What if we could produce food crops that are better developed to require less fertilizers and more resistant to climate change? Can we harness microbes to prevent the environmental degradation due to climate change? The Rutgers Microbiome Program (RUMP) aims to address such questions by examining and manipulating microbiome roles in human and the Earth’s health.