Dr. Jeffrey Gordon served as this year’s Harbison Lecturer. He is the Dr. Robert J. Glaser Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Through his research, Dr. Gordon is expanding our understanding of human health into nonhuman realms, studying the bacteria that take up residence in the gut and help define who we become. Indeed, this research suggests you are what you—and your microbes—eat. During his lecture, he shared the work his lab has conducted, where they created innovative animal models, and developed new experimental and computational approaches for characterizing the assembly, dynamic operations, functional properties and biological effects of human gut microbial communities.
“Eat well! Be respectful of your microbial communities. When you leave this room, I hope you have a more holistic view of self,” Dr. Gordon said as he closed the presentation.
The Harbison Lecture is named on behalf of Mr. Earle H. and Mrs. Suzanne Siegel Harbison. Mrs. Harbison graduated from Mary Institute in 1945, beginning a long lineage of Harbisons to attend the School. For as long as the Harbisons have been members of the School community, they have made MICDS a philanthropic priority—remaining deeply committed to ensuring our students have access to outstanding faculty, great learning spaces and excellent programming that supplements the classroom experience.
Mr. and Mrs. Harbison established the Harbison Lecture Fund in 1994 to commemorate Mrs. Harbison’s 50th Class Reunion. Its purpose is “to fund an annual lecture for students at MICDS featuring a prominent local, regional or national figure whose topic will support the mission and educational goals of the School.” Because the Harbison family strongly values the sciences, the School has historically chosen a leading figure in the sciences to speak to Upper School students.