Azza Gadir on the Microbiome and Allergies, Immunity and Mental Health

We think a lot about the things we put into our bodies but there is a relatively new field coming into the spotlight as we learn more about the things that are already in, and on, our bodies.  That field is research into the human microbiome.  Our guest today tells us about some of the early and most recent developments, and how the data being gathered about the micro organisms living in our bodies can help to develop new treatments to existing conditions, and prevent developing others.

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Our guest is Azza Gadir, a scientist working on the Immunology of food allergies at Harvard University/Boston Childrens’ hospital. Her research is focused on the role of the Gut Microbiome in preventing and treating disease. In addition, she is currently serving as a scientific advisor for the startup, Adeo Health Science, a company focused on translating food allergy research into trusted products for parents. Azza was introduced to me by Daisy Robinton, also a researcher at Harvard, who was a guest on episode 23 about gene editing and explains CRISPR/Cas 9. If you haven’t heard that one yet, you can go back and grab that at digitalhealthtoday.com/23.

When we recorded this episode, Azza explained that the product from the company she’s advising, Adeo Health, was just weeks away from launch. Well, they did launch the product and as this podcast goes live, I wanted to let you know that you can get it now. She explains what it is during the interview (spoiler alert – it’s a baby food that introduces 8 different allergens to infants in solid food), but I did want to let you know that the product is now available. The company name is Adeo Health and their product is called Inspired Start – links to both can be found below.

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Today's Topics

  • The 4 communities of the human microbiome
  • How the microbiome changes during development, and how it can be affected by variables such as the method of delivery
  • How fecal transplants can dramatically improve survival rates for diseases like C. diff
  • How the microbiome affects our mental health
  • Exciting startups developing new therapeutics through microbiome research
  • How early exposure to allergens can reduce the chances of children developing allergies

Links and Resources Mentioned

Lightning Round Answers

1- What is a saying, quote or phrase that motivates you?
“What people think of as the moment of discovery, is really the discovery of the question.” Jonas Salk

2- What advice do you have for others working to innovate in healthcare?
“If stumped with a problem, don't underestimate the importance of multi-disciplinary collaboration. Don't be afraid to invite scientists from other fields, designers, etcetera to the table for a discussion to gain maybe a different perspective of what you're facing”

3- What book do you recommend to our listeners?
In the Blood: God, Genes and Destiny – by Steve Jones.

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4- What’s the best tech that makes your life better and easier?
Evernote!

5- If I gave you a check for $5 million for you to invest in health technology today, how would you invest it?
I'd invest in better hardware and diagnostics in the microbiome field. Now, when you collect stool, you have to immediately deposit it in a freezer because you quickly get bacteria overgrowth. We need better hardware to collect and quickly analyze bacterial composition of the gut.

6- We make a contribution to a charity in appreciation of your time on the show – what charity have you selected and can you tell us a little about what they do?
Lightyear Foundation – Lightyear breaks down barriers to science education so that all children can explore, get excited by and gain a deeper understanding of science.

We believe in transparency so please note that some links on this page are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive compensation from the companies involved, however this does not impact the price you pay.

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Dan Kendall

Dan Kendall

ABOUT THE HOST

As an engineer and business leader, I've worked to develop, launch and scale innovative products and solutions that impact health and wellness. As an entrepreneur, I know firsthand what it takes to start a business, build a team, and compete in the global marketplace.

On Digital Health Today, I leverage my experiences to help great leaders and innovators tell their stories and connect to users, investors and other stakeholders.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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