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Lawrence David’s gut check gets personal

Studies of the microbiome reveal how bacterial communities change over time

By
11:06am, September 21, 2016
Lawrence David

Computational biologist Lawrence David tracked 349 lifestyle measures, in addition to collecting his own saliva and feces.

Lawrence David, 33
Computational biologist
Duke University

A Jim Carrey movie inspired computational biologist Lawrence David to change the course of his research. As a graduate student, David saw Yes Man, a 2008 film in which Carrey’s character is forced to say yes to all propositions.

David thought the movie’s message about opening yourself to new experiences, even uncomfortable ones, might make science more exciting than it already was. “Only good things would happen if I loosened up and said yes to everything,” he says.

The next day, his graduate mentor at MIT, Eric Alm, was talking about the brand-new science of the human microbiome, the collection

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