We are thrilled to present Volume 97, Issue 3 of the University of Toronto Medical Journal, which focuses on the important and evolving topic of the Human Microbiome. The Spring 2015 Issue of the University of Toronto Medical Journal first considered the Human Microbiome, exploring this burgeoning field and its potential applications in clinical medicine. Since this issue, our understanding of the microbiome, and the field of microbiology more broadly, has exploded. The microbiome, understood as the genetic material of the microbes living on and within our bodies, contributes to essential processes such as food digestion, immune regulation, and the production of vitamins. Further, many pathological processes, such as autoimmune diseases, are associated with dysbiotic states. While past research has largely focused on understanding the microbiome and performing clinical procedures to restore healthy microbiota, newer studies have begun to uncover and explore the novel roles for the microbiota in diagnosing and treating medical conditions, such as cancer, depression, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. With this dramatic increase in microbiome research, researchers and clinicians must navigate an onslaught of new information and determine how to meaningfully translate these new discoveries into clinical practice.
In the Spring Issue of the University of Toronto Medical Journal, we will address the important topic of the Microbiome. We believe that this issue will bring forth many areas that are worth exploring, including but not limited to the known understanding of how the microbiome affects immunity and contributes to disease, novel associations between dysbiotic states and disease, how antibiotics affect the microbiome, the ethical issues around sample collection and privacy in mapping the human microbiome, as well as mediating how the public will understand discoveries about the microbiome. We hope that this issue will inform our international readership about the current understanding of the microbiome and identify priorities for future research.
This is the third and final issue of the University of Toronto Medical Journal’s 97th volume. We would like to sincerely thank our dedicated editorial team for all the hard work that went into preparing this issue, and their continued efforts throughout the year. We are grateful for the patrons and faculty that continue to support the University of Toronto Medical Journal and the authors that have allowed us to showcase their important work. We hope that you find this issue informative and thought-provoking.
Tatiana Yeuchyk and Kathleen Simms