Last July, microbiologist Dr. Jonathan Eisen gave an illuminating speech at TEDMed where he explained the importance of our microbial community. “Our bodies are covered in a sea of microbes, he explained, both the pathogens that make us sick and the “good” microbes, about which we know less, that might be keeping us healthy”.

Jonathan Eisen studies the ecology and evolution of microbial communities – and their co-evolution with their hosts. During his 20 minutes speech, Eisen shared some surprising ways to put good microbes to work and encouraged his audience to stop suffering from “germophobia” as “there are thousands of thousand of kinds of microbes”. Actually, “a variety of studies have shown that the microbial community that lives in and on us helps in the development of the immune system, helps in fighting off pathogens, helps in our metabolism, and determining our metabolic rate, probably determines our odor, and may even shape our behavior in a variety of ways.”

Eisen ended his speech saying: “We are them. They are us”. Strong and clear words, isn’t it?