Hack Your Health: An Evening with Anjali Nayar and Dr. Sean Gibbons

The human gut microbiome is one of the newest and arguably the hottest topics on the research scene. Over the past 15 years, scientists have found that the trillions of microbiota that live deep in our digestive tracts are a critical health determinant affecting our immune system, mood, energy level, and much more. 

The intricate relationship between our gut and our overall health is clear. And thanks to microbiome-themed documentaries, podcasts, and other lay-friendly storytelling methods, as well as groundbreaking work out of research groups like ISB’s Gibbons Lab, that link is getting even clearer. 

In April, Netflix released a popular documentary called “Hack Your Health: The Secrets of Your Gut.” The film merged world-renowned gut microbiome experts, four individuals – including a well-known hot dog eating champion – facing personal battles with gastrointestinal health, and a unique, effective visual method of “showing” the gut microbiome in action, resulting in a scientifically accurate and ultimately understandable narrative that is accessible to all audiences. 

In June, ISB and Town Hall Seattle coordinated to put on a panel discussion with “Hack Your Health” Director Anjali Nayar and ISB Associate Professor Dr. Sean Gibbons, who served as scientific advisor on the documentary. ISB President Dr. Jim Heath hosted the conversation. 

Nayar and Gibbons discussed the making of the film, including a particularly touchy section dealing with fecal microbiota transplants, as well as some of the latest research in the gut microbiome arena. 

You can watch their discussion here, or by clicking play on the video above. 

About the ISB-Town Hall Science Series 

Over the past several years, ISB and Town Hall Seattle have put on a number of joint events focusing on a range of important scientific issues: Revolutionizing healthcare, the interface of art and science, reimagining chronic illness, the “elegant” immune systemthe state of the microbiome field, the new science of longevity, why we age (and why we don’t have to), the importance of getting kids outside, STEM policy and advocacy, the politics of immunization, mining sewage to track population health, and creating new senses for humans

We will continue creating compelling events. Be sure you know of upcoming conversations by following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and sign up for our newsletter for event updates.

Video Transcript

Below is the video transcript of the conversation between Anjali Nayar, Sean Gibbons, and Jim Heath. 

Jim Heath:

Hi. Thank you. It’s wonderful to be here. ISB has had a long relationship and long and wonderful and productive relationship with Town Hall, and so it’s fantastic to be back and to see… Actually I can hardly see because the light’s in my eyes, but it seems like there’s a lot of people out there, so thank you all for coming. For those of you who don’t know the ISB, we’re a nonprofit research institute affiliated with the Providence Healthcare System. We do biomedical research in many aspects, really focusing on the future of human health and disease. ISB stands for two things. It stands for Institute for Systems Biology, and it stands for Isn’t Science Beautiful?


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