Did you know that the average human gut is home to over 100 trillion microorganisms? These numbers are not from a diseased state, but rather are representative of a normal, healthy human gut. Clearly, this suggests that the vast majority of microorganisms living within us are not pathogenic. Animal studies of germ-free or selective gut colonization by microbes provide growing evidence of healthful, symbiotic microorganisms that inhabit the gastrointestinal tract. However, harmful perturbation of the gut microbial ecosystem, collectively termed ‘dysbiosis’, is associated with many disease states. Further studies of gut microbial communities in both healthy and diseased conditions will inform how modulation of the intestinal flora can be used therapeutically. Want to learn more? Get in the loop with poop with PhD student Chris Garris!