Microbiology and ecology are vitally important to premedical curricula

Val H. Smith, Rebecca J. Rubinstein, Serry Park, Libusha Kelly, Vanja Klepac-Ceraj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Despite the impact of the human microbiome on health, an appreciation of microbial ecology is yet to be translated into mainstream medical training and practice. The human microbiota plays a role in the development of the immune system, in the development and function of the brain, in digestion, and in host defense, and we anticipate that many more functions are yet to be discovered. We argue here that without formal exposure to microbiology and ecology-fields that explore the networks, interactions and dynamics between members of populations of microbes-vitally important links between the human microbiome and health will be overlooked. This educational shortfall has significant downstream effects on patient care and biomedical research, and we provide examples from current research highlighting the influence of the microbiome on human health. We conclude that formally incorporating microbiology and ecology into the premedical curricula is invaluable to the training of future health professionals and critical to the development of novel therapeutics and treatment practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereov014
Pages (from-to)179-192
Number of pages14
JournalEvolution, Medicine and Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Ecology
  • Human microbiome
  • Microbiology
  • Premedical curricula

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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