Jack Gilbert, PhD
As a microbiologist, and microbial ecologist, I am fascinated with the microbiome in human beings. This is the complex consortia of bacteria, archaea, viruses, and fungi that live within and on us. We are starting to understand that these organisms play a significant role in our health and outcomes from treatments such as surgery. Recently, I accepted a position as Professor in the Department of Surgery at University of Chicago. Non-clinical faculty, especially basic researchers in microbiology, are a little thin on the ground here, to say the least. But the faculty have recognized that understanding the community of organisms that live with us may have profound implications for treating patients. Working with surgeons such as Dr John Alverdy has been enlightening in many ways, helping me to see how microbial ecology can become an integral part of the surgical practice. We are uncovering new ways to treat, not just the person, but their microbiome as well, in an effort to reduce surgical infections, improve healing, and reduce recovery times for many different facets of surgical practice. This is an exciting time, and being part of the Surgical Infection Society, with the opportunities to interact with a wide breadth of the surgical community, will play a profound role in helping me to understand the issues with surgeons face in theater, and to help surgeons become acquainted with the advances that we, as microbial ecologist, are providing to the field of patient care. I really look forward to interacting with everyone.