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The impact of microorganisms on human health has long been acknowledged and studied, but recent advances in research methodologies have enabled a new systems-level perspective on the collections of microorganisms associated with humans, the human microbiome. Large-scale collaborative efforts such as the NIH Human Microbiome Project have sought to kick-start research on the human microbiome by providing foundational information on microbial composition based upon specific sites across the human body. Here, we focus on the four main anatomical sites of the human microbiome: gut, oral, skin, and vaginal, and provide information on site-specific background, experimental data, and computational modeling. Each of the site-specific microbiomes has unique organisms and phenomena associated with them; there are also high-level commonalities. By providing an overview of different human microbiome sites, we hope to provide a perspective where detailed, site-specific research is needed to understand causal phenomena that impact human health, but there is equally a need for more generalized methodology improvements that would benefit all human microbiome research.
© 2020 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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VCU Chemical and Life Science Engineering Publications