Microbiology Is ... Your Microbiome, Your Health

May 10, 2021

Dr. Filipa Godoy-Vitorino, Ph.D. discusses the importance of a healthy microbiome and discusses ways we can keep our microbiomes functioning properly in order to prevent diseases, such as cervical cancer.

What's the Issue?

You are your microbiome. The billions of microbes that live on and inside each of us are critical for regulating and maintaining our health, whether in the gut, vagina, nose or on the skin. Malfunctioning microbiota can lead to issues related to development, obesity and cancer.

Decades of research suggest that disruption of the cervical microbiome is a major factor that puts women at risk of developing cervical cancer due to infection with high-risk human papilloma virus (HPV). Cervical cancer is highly preventable through vaccination and early detection, yet it remains a major public health problem worldwide, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean:

How to Get Involved

Understanding how microbiomes work is critical for microbiological research and disease prevention. For more information about the human microbiome, and to learn about the latest guidelines on cervical care, check out the links below:

Interested in learning more about scientific research happening in the Caribbean? Check out these organizations:

About Filipa Godoy-Vitorino

Dr. Filipa Godoy-Vitorino, Ph.D. is an associate professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Medical Zoology at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. In addition to her research on the microbiome, Godoy is president of the AAAS Caribbean Division, which fosters collaborations among scientists and seeks to create a culture of strong STEM education throughout the Caribbean region. She is a passionate educator and is the mentor of the Graduate Women in Science—Puerto Rico Chapter, a group founded by microbiology students that empowers women to pursue scientific careers.

Connect with Filipa


About the "Microbiology Is ..." Project

The “Microbiology Is ...” project is a new series from ASM in which we’ll highlight how microbiologists around the world work with local, national and international partners to apply laboratory research to real-world issues that directly affect individuals and communities. From the obvious (antibiotics, safe drinking water) to the obscure (wine production), we’ll cover the entire spectrum of applications for microbiology. Through these stories, we want to showcase the human side of science and the true impact microbiology has on society. Hopefully, we’ll also be able to inspire more microbiologists to bring their work out of the lab and into their local communities. Because ultimately, microbiology is for everyone.

Author: Geoff Hunt, Ph.D.

Geoff Hunt, Ph.D.
Geoff Hunt, Ph.D., is the Public Outreach Program Officer at the American Society for Microbiology.