Watch the museum's previous public programs on our YouTube channel.
You may be familiar with the idea that your gut and skin are home to a collection of microbes — fungi, bacteria and viruses — all vital for keeping you healthy. But did you know that your eyes also host a unique menagerie of microbes? In this two-part series, we are doing a deep dive to better understand the microbiome of the eye. "Meet Your Eye Microbiome" features Anthony St. Leger, PhD, a professor and researcher at University of Pittsburg’s Ocular Microbiome and Immunity Laboratory, and Robert M. Q. Shanks, PhD, from Campbell Eye Microbiology Laboratory.
Image: Immune system cells interacting with bacteria on the ocular surface. (Scanning electron micrograph – pseudocolored), Charles T Campbell Microbiology Laboratory at UPMC.
Recent research is looking into the link between the gut microbiome and ocular disease. How complex is the gut microbiome? An estimated 1,000 species of bacteria alone live in the human digestive system, but only a few of these microbes are understood. It’s as if, in a vast orchestra, only a handful of instruments can be heard. But these early notes may lead to new therapeutic paradigms in which the gut microbiome plays a role in treating eye disease. "The Gut and the Eye" is the second program in our two-part series exploring the microbiome of the eye.
Behind the Scenes: Trachoma
The first episode in our occasional series, "Behind the Scenes," features our Director, Jenny Benjamin exploring the history behind a rare set of glass teaching slides prepared by the National Trachoma Service. Trachoma is a bacterial infection that attacks the eyes and has been documented for thousands of years. Learn about the trachoma epidemic in the United States between 1912 and 1924, and its parallels to our current health crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic.
Can You Believe Your Eyes?
Explore how the eye-brain connection plays an important role in what you see, but can sometimes be tricked into seeing things that aren’t there. This virtual event was held in collaboration with vision scientists from the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute and the 2020 virtual Bay Area Science Festival.