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What's the latest on gut microbiota?

Researcher guides 106 students through the writing, editing and submission process

September 19, 2017
Concordia University
How many undergraduate classes in microbiology -- or any scientific field, for that matter -- can say they're published in a peer-reviewed journal? Now there is a new review of the primary literature and latest discoveries on the interactions between gut microbiota and the human host.

How many undergraduate classes in microbiology -- or any scientific field, for that matter -- can say they're published in a peer-reviewed journal?

"It's very rare, especially with such a large class size," says Chiara Gamberi, an affiliate assistant professor of biology and part-time faculty member in Concordia's Faculty of Arts and Science.

This July, Frontiers in Microbiology published an article co-authored by 106 of Gamberi's undergrad students. It was part of an ambitious pedagogical initiative in the Department of Biology.

"Human Gut Microbiota: Toward an Ecology of Disease" is a review of the primary literature and latest discoveries on the interactions between gut microbiota and the human host.

'Strength in numbers'

The idea for the project came out of Gamberi's desire to give her students an opportunity to improve their writing. She also wanted to provide them with the kind of individual guidance she supplies in smaller, more senior classes.

"With just over 100 students, I figured we had strength in numbers," Gamberi says.

She divided them into groups of four or five and assigned one article per person.

"They had to learn how to properly cite and paraphrase the articles and how to avoid plagiarism -- with help from the biology librarian, Katharine Hall," she says.

"Next, some of the students volunteered to edit each group's work into one article. Editing could be a whole course in itself!"

For the final step, the students made further edits based on the journal reviewer's comments and suggestions.

"The revised document was accepted for publication and one reviewer praised the students for addressing his comments so thoroughly."

Validation: student success in the job market

Susannah Selber-Hnatiw (BSc 17) was one of the editors. She found the project to be an extremely beneficial learning experience.

"Working on the article improved my writing and editing skills, but it also stands out on my résumé as something unique."

When Selber-Hnatiw graduated this spring, she went for a job interview at Maxxam Analytics. They were impressed that she'd already been published as an undergraduate student, and she got a job in their environmental lab working on extraction techniques to analyse hydrocarbons.

Next topic? Metabolism!

Gamberi was so pleased with the experience of having a class write an article together that she's repeating the initiative this year, but with a different topic.

"The second student paper will be on metabolic disease and how microbiota effects metabolism."

Story Source:

Materials provided by Concordia University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Susannah Selber-Hnatiw, Belise Rukundo, Masoumeh Ahmadi, Hayfa Akoubi, Hend Al-Bizri, Adelekan F. Aliu, Tanyi U. Ambeaghen, Lilit Avetisyan, Irmak Bahar, Alexandra Baird, Fatema Begum, Hélène Ben Soussan, Virginie Blondeau-Éthier, Roxane Bordaries, Helene Bramwell, Alicia Briggs, Richard Bui, Matthew Carnevale, Marisa Chancharoen, Talia Chevassus, Jin H. Choi, Karyne Coulombe, Florence Couvrette, Samantha D'Abreau, Meghan Davies, Marie-Pier Desbiens, Tamara Di Maulo, Sean-Anthony Di Paolo, Sabrina Do Ponte, Priscyla dos Santos Ribeiro, Laure-Anne Dubuc-Kanary, Paola K. Duncan, Frédérique Dupuis, Sara El-Nounou, Christina N. Eyangos, Natasha K. Ferguson, Nancy R. Flores-Chinchilla, Tanya Fotakis, Mariam Gado Oumarou H D, Metodi Georgiev, Seyedehnazanin Ghiassy, Natalija Glibetic, Julien Grégoire Bouchard, Tazkia Hassan, Iman Huseen, Marlon-Francis Ibuna Quilatan, Tania Iozzo, Safina Islam, Dilan B. Jaunky, Aniththa Jeyasegaram, Marc-André Johnston, Matthew R. Kahler, Kiranpreet Kaler, Cedric Kamani, Hessam Karimian Rad, Elisavet Konidis, Filip Konieczny, Sandra Kurianowicz, Philippe Lamothe, Karina Legros, Sebastien Leroux, Jun Li, Monica E. Lozano Rodriguez, Sean Luponio-Yoffe, Yara Maalouf, Jessica Mantha, Melissa McCormick, Pamela Mondragon, Thivaedee Narayana, Elizaveta Neretin, Thi T. T. Nguyen, Ian Niu, Romeo B. Nkemazem, Martin O'Donovan, Matthew Oueis, Stevens Paquette, Nehal Patel, Emily Pecsi, Jackie Peters, Annie Pettorelli, Cassandra Poirier, Victoria R. Pompa, Harshvardhan Rajen, Reginald-Olivier Ralph, Josué Rosales-Vasquez, Daria Rubinshtein, Surya Sakr, Mohammad S. Sebai, Lisa Serravalle, Fily Sidibe, Ahnjana Sinnathurai, Dominique Soho, Adithi Sundarakrishnan, Veronika Svistkova, Tsolaye E. Ugbeye, Megan S. Vasconcelos, Michael Vincelli, Olga Voitovich, Pamela Vrabel, Lu Wang, Maryse Wasfi, Cong Y. Zha, Chiara Gamberi. Human Gut Microbiota: Toward an Ecology of Disease. Frontiers in Microbiology, 2017; 8 DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01265

Cite This Page:

Concordia University. "What's the latest on gut microbiota?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 September 2017. <>.
Concordia University. (2017, September 19). What's the latest on gut microbiota?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2024 from
Concordia University. "What's the latest on gut microbiota?." ScienceDaily. (accessed April 17, 2024).

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