Director for new centre at King’s Dental Institute appointed

The human microbiome is the diverse collection of microbes such as bacteria and viruses, which inhabit the human body. Microbiomes are essential for various human processes, such as digestion, but the unique collection of microbes in an individual may influence susceptibility to certain diseases. The mouth itself harbours one of the most diverse microbiomes in the human body and the bacteria present can lead to tooth decay and gum disease but can also be protective.

The new Host-Microbiome Interactions Centre will be a collaborative effort between the Dental Institute and experts from across the College to investigate the bacteria that inhabit our body, help maintain our health and impact our diseases. This bacteria is acquired during our lifetime through exposure to the environment.

It is anticipated that the centre will provide major breakthroughs related to the key roles that the microbiome can have on, not only oral and dental health, but also other major disease processes and the overall understanding of human biology.

Professor Ehrlich will bring experience in the human microbiome to the new centre when he joins King's. He is a Chevalier de l'Ordre de Mérite and de la Légion d'Honneur. He is also a laureate of the INRA career Excellence of the Agricultural Research Award and a member of the French Academy of Agriculture, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the European Molecular Biology Organisation and the American Academy of Microbiology.

Professor Ehrlich founded and directed the Microbial Genetics Research Unit and the Microbiology Department at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and was a research associate of Dr Joshua Lederberg, Nobel Prize winner, in the Department of Genetics, Stanford University Medical School, California.

Professor Ehrlich said: 'ŒI am excited to take up this role at the new Host-Microbiome Interactions Centre and lead on the cutting-edge research in one of the world¹s best universities and largest hospitals. This provides an unmatched opportunity to impact health care by understanding the role of the human microbiome and modulating its composition so it remains optimal for our health and well-being.'

Professor Dianne Rekow, Dean of King's College London Dental Institute said: 'ŒI am delighted to welcome Professor Ehrlich to the Dental Institute. His far reaching experience will complement and expand the expertise of a body of King's College London experts and enable better understanding of a host of oral-systemic linkages.'

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