Zoey Hall is a rising fourth-year majoring in Biological Anthropology and Global Health. She is a research assistant in the Amato Lab , which is doing research on gut microbiomes.

Tell me about your SURG topic.

Hall: We’re compiling metadata from publicly accessible sequencing reads of 16 sRNA, which is found in your gut microbiome. By doing so, we also hope to collect demographic data along with that, focusing on non-Western countries because a lot of the current gut microbiome data is from just the basics, either animals or Western countries, so a lot of Europe and a lot of the U.S. Our main factors right now have been age, country location and then disease type, so if the individual who gave the sample has any kind of disease, whether it be a neurological disease, a chronic disease, an intestinal kind of digestive tract disease, things like that.

What are you hoping to get out of this research?

Hall: Hopefully we can get a really solid basis for what I want to do my senior thesis on because that would be really helpful. Gut microbiome study in itself is so new. In the past 10 years, it has almost tripled in how people are now actually investigating it. There’s a lot of unknowns when it comes to that. It’s a lot of figuring out and seeing like, ‘Oh, what does matter?’ and a lot of trial and error. It takes a lot of time. So I really do hope that we can be able to focus that. Eventually we do want to do a longer kind of in depth longitudinal study or something like that for my thesis.

This research sounds very cross-disciplinary.

Hall: That’s why I like anthropology a lot, because anthropology is just a study of humans. It affects everything you do, and you can apply it to literally everything you do. That’s what makes it so fun, because I don’t feel like I get bored.

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