First Advisor

Anne W. Thompson

Date of Award

Spring 6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology and University Honors






microbiology, gut health, immune health, community health




The purpose of this thesis is to explore the interplay between the environment, lifestyle, and composition of human microbiomes across different communities, with a specific focus on immune and digestive health. This literature review investigates three distinct types of communities: isolated/traditional, transitional, and urban/industrialized communities, each characterized by unique environments, societal structures, and interactions. These factors contribute to the distinct microbial populations and compositions within each community. It is impossible to avoid contact with microorganisms as they are present in every aspect of our lives, from the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil we walk on, the food we consume, even our workspaces, schools, and medications. Microbial communities exist everywhere, and at the center of this microbial society are humans themselves. The interactions between humans and microorganisms impact disease and the functioning of various physiological systems of the human body. By exploring these factors, this review highlights the relationship between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our world.


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