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Microorganisms have forged intimate relationships with nearly all eukaryotic hosts. However, the nature of these associations is often studied from the viewpoint of only the host or only the microbe. The host-associated research theme aims to elucidate these interesting associations from both the microbial community and host perspectives.
The community of microorganisms (bacteria, archaea, viruses and single-celled eukaryotes) that function and interact together in a specific location, such as the gastrointestinal tract of an animal, is called the microbiome. In the case of host-associated microbiomes, these interactions extend to the host and are often critical for normal function and development. A dysbiosis, or imbalance of the microbiome, can lead to an increased abundance of microbes that cause disease.