Today, on June 27th, we celebrate World Microbiome Day. This year’s theme is Celebration of the Microbial World. At UNLOCK, we never celebrate alone: Microbes (and scientists) work together! In this final blog of a series on microbial team play, we explain why it’s not all about talent and what we’re planning to do with all these microbial teams. We also emphasize once more why team play is key.

By the UNLOCK team / June 27, 2022 (World Microbiome Day)


Technical difficulty
In our previous blogs, we explained the use of our four complementary research platforms, using team sports as a metaphor. These platforms do not operate alone; only together they will eventually allow us to compose our dream team(s) of interest. Hopefully, these dream teams do not consist solely of existing microbial talent we know today, but also new to-be-discovered talent. Moreover, the use of these teams may help to unlock even more microbial potential.

It’s not only about talent

The word “talent” has been mentioned a lot in our previous blogs, but like in sports, talent is not everything. It may sound cliché, but even the most talented athletes need to train hard to become a world class athlete. This means that the athlete has to practice his or her skills every day and acquire new ones, if necessary. Sometimes it takes years for talents to reach the top. In that sense, microbes – especially bacteria – have a big advantage. Whereas it takes years for human beings to multiply and pass on talents to a new generation, bacteria can do this within a few hours or days. Moreover, the cultivation of microbes in teams instead of in isolation, can further boost their skills. Eventually, this will also enhance overall team performance! All in all, microbes are constantly in training.

From lab to real life

So far, we have mainly discussed the research done at UNLOCK – in a lab environment. But what are all these talented teams actually used for? In our blogs, we mentioned different kinds of team sports: cycling, soccer and even a relay combination of sports. As explained in the first part, a soccer coach is looking for different talents than the coach of a cycling team. Similarly, the microbial teams investigated at UNLOCK have different applications. For instance, recently, researchers from UNLOCK composed a microbial team representing the human intestinal microbiota. This community increases our understanding of the team play in our intestinal tract and, moreover, the role these microbial teams play for our health. Other microbial teams that can be explored at UNLOCK are, for example, communities used to treat wastewater or those used to recover valuable resources from waste streams. Each team requires different types of talents from different microbial species.

Logo of World Microbiome Day 2021.
On June 27th, we celebrate World Microbiome Day. Logo by World Microbiome Day.

Other examples of team play

Team play is not only valuable in the microbial communities that UNLOCK works with. Also the scientists working at the facility, operate in teams. They form a multidisciplinary team with a lot of (complementary) expertise. If you want to know who we are exactly, please visit our team page.

Let’s celebrate World Microbiome Day together!

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