The advances of the microbiome revolution of the past decade have deeply challenged our prior understanding of microbes in human systems biology in health and disease. There is zero uncertainty that microbes in the 21st century are now understood as symbionts ‘completing’ the human ‘superorganism‘ or ‘holobiont’ (Homo sapiens plus microbial partners in health) rather than germs that will kill us. Yet, our current frameworks for Risk Analysis exclude our microbial partners in health! This lecture will address microbes in health and disease, focusing on the gut, the gut-lung axis, and the respiratory system, as well as strategies for managing our microbes for health and protection from disease. Recently published case studies are introduced that provide evidence maps on benefit-risk analysis for mammalian milks, both fresh unprocessed (raw) and pasteurized breastmilk and cow milk. Dialogue about potential partners in the work of incorporating food and gut microbiota into 21st century Risk Analysis will close the lecture.
Peg Coleman, MS2, is a medical microbiologist, a microbial risk assessor, a Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA). Ms. Coleman has served in many leadership roles in SRA since 1995 and was recently elected to serve on the SRA Council. She presented SRA webinars in 2017 and 2021 on topics related to the ‘microbiome revolution’. Ms. Coleman has served as a Mentor for graduate students and new members in the SRA mentoring project. Her long career as a microbial risk assessor began with the US federal government (USDA/FSIS) and continues as a consultant. Her primary interests are benefit-risk analysis and resilience of human superorganisms.