Dr. Gomez’s Research Featured on HBO Vice

Dr. Andres Gomez, new faculty member to the Department of Animal Science, was part of a short documentary that aired on HBO Friday, October 6th. The documentary was part of the HBO-Vice series and featured Dr. Gomez’s work with microbiome research.

The segment explored how western populations have lost substantial diversity in their gut microbiomes compared to populations living under traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyles. Dr. Gomez traveled to central Africa and was joined by two other microbiome researchers as they compared the microbiomes between the BaAka hunter-gatherers and a nearby group that are agriculturalists. Through these comparisons they explained the loss of microbiome diversity in industrialized populations in the context of westernized diets, modern lifestyles, increased sanitation, and modern disease patterns.

Vice first approached Dr. Gomez and his colleague Dr. Ran Blekhman from the College of Biological Sciences about appearing in the series after learning about their published work in Cell Reports that featured their research on the microbiome.  ("Gut Microbiome of Coexisting BaAka Pygmies and Bantu Reflects Gradients of Traditional Subsistence Patterns.") Dr. Gomez hopes that this segment will further expose the general population to understanding the importance of the microbiome. Particularly how they have changed as humans have acquired different lifestyles and the correlation with the rise of modem diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

The documentary aired Friday, October 6th at 6:30 PM and 10:30 PM CST on HBO.