Donata Vercelli

Dr. Donata Vercelli, UA

Thursday, 2:30-3:30, Arizona Senior Academy Building

According to Donata Vercelli, M.D., we are (fortunately) not alone.  For decades, biologists and physicians have seen microbes as foes and agents of disease that need to be wiped out.  Now they have come to realize that many of the billions of microbes we harbor are essential for our health.  Her lecture is the fifth in the 2019 series sponsored by the U.A. College of Sciences, entitled “The Search for Certainty.”

Our microbes live within our bodies in complex eco-systems highly responsive to environmental signals, outnumbering the cells of our body by at least 10-fold, and acting both locally, in the organs they inhabit, and at a distance, by releasing small metabolites that travel in our blood.  Thus, our microbes influence directly or indirectly virtually all our characteristics; for example, our immunity and blood pressure, our weight and cognition, and possibly even our mood.

Microbial diversity is so extraordinary that each of us carries a distinct set of microbes and can be identified by the microbes she or he carries.  Exploration of the microbial world has just begun, but it is already revolutionizing biology and medicine.

Dr. Vercelli came to the University of Arizona in 1999. She is Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Director of the Arizona Center for the Biology of Complex Diseases, and Associate Director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center.  She earned her M.D. from the University of Florence and trained in immunology at Children’s Hospital/HarvardMedical School.

Written by Carol and Donald Gilzinger, Academy Village Volunteers

May 2: “The Search for Certainty: The Microbes Shaping Our Lives”