The human body possesses a diverse and abundant repertoire of microorganisms, termed microbiota, occupying distinct internal and external niches. In numerical terms, the bacterial component alone approaches 50 phyla of 1000 species that cover 1014 bacteria per gram of luminal content.
There is a historical precedent for major scientific advances that have come from those who have not necessarily followed the traditional academic route for their field. The field of genetics has been no exception to this phenomenon, from its conception by a particularly tenacious Augustinian monk to the somewhat less well-known story of a certain English public school teacher, Ronald Fisher.
Having recently started my PhD on the conservation management of elasmobranch (sharks, rays and skates) populations, I embarked on my first fieldwork season to Ecuador. Many people, including most of my friends, asked me if this involved swimming with sharks- and as glamorous as that sounded – their faces dropped when I inevitably told them that I went to fish markets in Ecuador to collect samples from dead sharks. Perhaps not as exciting as they had hoped.
Affecting approximately 20-30% of children and 2-3% of adults globally, eczema (which is synonymous with atopic dermatitis) is the most common skin disease at present. Primarily characterised as an itchy and inflammatory skin disease, research has aimed to answer the question of what causes eczema?