Our Microbiomes Might Shape Our Social Lives

LYDIA DENWORTH | August 22, 2019 | 53 views

It is early morning on a wide plain in Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya. With a small Dixie cup and a wooden tongue depressor, Susan Alberts picks up a fecal sample left by a female baboon named Yoruba. Alberts is an eminent primatologist. She is both the chair of the department of evolutionary anthropology and a member of the biology department at Duke University, and the co-director of the Amboseli Baboon Research Project. But this morning, she has the less-than-glamorous job of preparing Yoruba’s poop. Alberts carries the cup to her makeshift field laboratory — the hood of a mud-spattered 4×4 — and divides the sample among several cups, marking each with identifying details. She then treats each sample with specific chemicals according to how it will be used. “That’s for Beth,” Alberts says, as she adds some formalin to one of the Dixie cups. Beth Archie is a biologist at the University of Notre Dame and an associate director at Amboseli who heads the project’s microbiome research.

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Quanterix

Quanterix is a company that is digitizing biomarker analysis with the goal of advancing the science of precision health. The company’s ultra-sensitive detection solution, Simoa, has the potential to change the way in which healthcare is provided today by giving researchers the ability to closely examine the role of biomarkers in the continuum of health to disease. Quanterix’ technology is designed to enable much earlier disease detection, better prognosis and precise treatment methods to improve the quality of life and longevity of the population for generations to come. The technology is currently being used for research applications in several therapeutic areas, including oncology, neurology, cardiology, inflammation and infectious disease. The company was established in 2007 and is located in Billerica, Massachusetts.

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