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SRA Advancing the Science Webinar Series:

Microbiota Informing NextGen Risks and Benefits

This webinar series sponsored by the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) will introduce
advances in knowledge of the interactions of the human microbiome and the microbiota
of milk that impact estimation of risks and benefits to the human partner. The webinar
series is organized by partnering SRA Regional Organizations (Australia, New England,
New Zealand, and Upstate NY) as the first of three phases of a project entitled
Understanding Perceptions and Evidence of Benefits and Risks of Consuming Fresh
Unprocessed (Certified Raw or Raw Drinking) Milk.

Webinar speakers will assist the audience in understanding:

1. ourselves as superorganisms with microbial partners that play synergistic roles with our
innate immune systems in promoting health and protecting against pathogens
Dr. Rodney Dietert (Cornell University), Protecting the Human Superorganism
Tues Jan 24, 4 pm EST/Wed Jan 25: 8 am AEDT (Sydney); 10 am NZDT (Wellington);
2. {example content of interest} the roles of breast milk and its indigenous microbiota in
development and maintenance of healthy immune system development in offspring
Dr. Michelle McGuire, (Washington State University). Human Milk: Mother Natures Prototypical Probiotic
Food (Tues March 21, 1 pm PDT/4 pm EDT; Wed March 22: 8 am AEDT (Sydney); 10 am NZDT (Wellington);
3. {example content of interest} the roles of bovine milk and its indigenous microbiota in development and
maintenance of healthy immune systems in offspring; the density and composition of bovine milk
microbiota under different conditions (pasteurized and fresh unprocessed milk); implications in
development and maintenance of healthy offspring; research questions for risk assessment incorporating
data on the milk microbiome
Dr. Mark McGuire (University of Idaho), Bovine Milk Microbiota: Insights and Perspectives from Omics
Studies (Tues May 16 or 23, 1 pm PDT/4 pm EDT; Wed March 22: 6 am AEST (Sydney); 8 am NZST
4. Following the first three webinars from microbiota experts, Anne Mendelson (Culinary Historians of New
York) will present on the History of the Milk Wars based on her 2011 publication (date in July to be
5. A panel of microbial risk assessors will deliberate evidence of microbiota influences on risk and benefit for
fresh unprocessed and pasteurized milk (date in October to be determined).
The joint SRA project will culminate with exercises of analytic-deliberative process involving risk assessors,
communicators, and managers from around the world participating in an SRA workshop and a round table
symposium at the 2017 meeting (Arlington, VA, USA; December 10th 14th). Renowned SRA Fellows will be
facilitating the exercises of analytic-deliberative process at SRA 2017.

The major goals of the joint SRA project are to:

build a shared understanding of microbial benefits and risks for milk with stakeholders; and
facilitate a paradigm shift for an expanded framework for microbial benefit-risk assessment that
incorporates the superorganism, food microbiota, and interactions contributing to health and disease.

For more information, see Upstate NY SRA (http://sra.org/upstateny) or contact Upstate NY SRA President Peg
Coleman (peg@colemanscientific.org).
SRA Webinar on Tuesday Jan 24, 4 pm EST

Title: Protecting the Human Superorganism

Presenter: Dr. Rodney Dietert

Affiliation: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853

Abstract: Human safety evaluation and risk assessment are predicated on modeling, evaluating,
estimating, and then responding to the likelihood of adverse outcomes from exposure to environmental
chemicals, food, physical agents (e.g., radiation), pathogens, and drugs. Fundamental to the process has
been the assumption that the target organism being protected via the applications of safety evaluation and
risk assessment is the mammalian human. Until recently, little-to-no attention was directed toward the
role of thousands of non-mammalian, human-inhabiting species collectively known as the human
microbiome. Yet, humans in their normal, healthiest state are by some measures a majority-microbial
superorganism with a slight majority of microbial to mammalian cells and an even larger disparity among
genes. Additionally, because the microbiome resides at the boundary between humans and their
environment, it serves as a gatekeeper engaging microbial pathogens, chemicals and drugs before they
reach human mammalian cells. Protection of the newly-defined human superorganism requires a re-
thinking of what has been a largely mammalian-centric environmental health focus. This webinar
presentation considers how microbiome status drives human health risk and needs to be a centerpiece of
NextGen risk assessment.

Rodney Dietert is Professor of Immunotoxicology at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, having
served on the Cornell faculty for 39 years. He received his PhD in immunogenetics from the University of
Texas at Austin. At Cornell, Rodney previously directed Cornells Graduate Field of Immunology, the
Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors, and the Institute for Comparative and
Environmental Toxicology, and served as a Senior Fellow in the Cornell Center for the Environment. In
research, Rodney has more than 300 publications with most concerning the safety evaluation of drugs and
environmental chemicals, the microbiome, the developing immune system, environmental health risks,
and non-communicable diseases. Among his authored and edited scientific books are Immunotoxicity
Testing, Strategies for Protecting Your Childs Immune System, Immunotoxicity, Immune Dysfunction,
and Chronic Disease and the 2016 book from Dutton Penguin Random House titled: The Human
Superorganism. Beyond Cornell, Rodney was President of the Immunotoxicology Specialty Section of
SOT, served on grant, advisory, and document drafting panels for the NIH, WHO, EPA, USDA, NIH, and
Department of Defense, consulted for industry on safety evaluation and currently is a toxicology book
series editor for Springer. In 2014 he appeared in the award-winning documentary film, Microbirth and
in 2015, Rodney received the James G. Wilson Best Paper of the Year Award from the Teratology
Society for a paper on infant microbiome deficiencies as a new type of birth defect.