Prof Kim Barrett Reddit 'AMA'| Physiology of the bugs in your gut!

Kim Barrett, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Physiology and the Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego will be doing a 'Ask me anything' session on Reddit.

AMAs (short for ‘Ask Me Anything’) were created by the Reddit community as an opportunity for individuals to field questions about anything. The Reddit Science community (known as /r/Science) have an independent, science-focused AMA Series where individuals can have a candid conversation with the large and diverse Reddit Science community.

To access and and participate in the AMA, you will need to navigate to on Wednesday, 18th January, 4:30pm GMT (11:30am EST). 

AMA session description:

I’m Kim Barrett, Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego and Editor of The Journal of Physiology. This week, we published an issue on the microbiota, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to discuss how our microbes influence our wellbeing. AMA!

Our bodies are inhabited by literally billions of microbes, with thousands of distinct species of bacteria, viruses, fungi and others that are referred to collectively as the microbiota. The most populous microbiota resides in our large intestine, but there are also significant microbiota in the airways, in the mouth, on the skin and in the female reproductive tract. Under normal circumstances, these microbes are harmless, and even considered beneficial to their host. They perform metabolic functions, educate the immune system, and protect us from infections with “bad” bacteria. Recent work, however, has suggested that when the composition of the microbiota is altered in specific ways, then the health of the site they colonize may be compromised. For example, patients with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have a less diverse microbiota in their gut than healthy individuals. There is also increasing attention being paid to the ways in which other microbiota can influence the health of the sites in which they reside, and conversely, how the gut microbiota can influence the health of organs outside the digestive tract, including the brain. We are also learning how environmental factors, such as the diet and early-life use of antibiotics, can influence the make-up of the microbiota in either the short or long term and thus influence health status. I’m eager to answer questions about any of these issues, and can also address how dangerous (pathogenic) food- and water-borne microorganisms, such as Salmonella and the bacteria that cause cholera, interact with the intestine to cause diarrheal disease. I’m also happy to answer general questions about biomedical publishing, including publication ethics and how new investigators can increase their chances that their papers will be accepted.