The more we learn about the human microbiome—bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoans that live on and in the human body and their genetic material—the more our view of humans is being challenged. Instead, we are invited to reconceptualized the human being as a superorganism and the human body as an ecosystem. This poses unique ethical, social, and legal questions, including how integral is the microbiome to our conception of self? How does knowledge about microbiome impact what we think it means to be healthy? To what extent do we own our microbes, and should our microbiome information be shared with healthcare providers or insurance companies? Who has the rights to benefit?


Jennifer Wagner  | Law, Policy, and Engineering

Emily Davenport  | Biology


Laura Weyrich  | Anthropology and Bioethics