The Challenge of Emerging Infections in the 21st Century:
Terrain, Tolerance, and Susceptibility
This Symposium is about cracking the code of how susceptibility to infection or dysfunction is created. We will explore how a “hospitable host” is established through continuous and complex interplay between microbe exposure and an individual’s environment, lifestyle, and genetic profile.
What do we mean by Terrain, Tolerance, and Susceptibility?
Terrain: Terrain is the body ecology, the sum total of our 10 trillion cells and the 100 trillion microbes that live within and on us, and the environmental milieu in which all of these coexist.
Tolerance: The primary job of the immune system is not identification of that which is foreign; it is tolerance of that which is not foreign: our cells and commensal microbiota. Tolerance is controlled chaos within a fluid, ever-changing system.
Susceptibility: Susceptibility to disease and dysfunction is caused by our malleable genetic propensity, which is determined in large measure by what we eat, how we sleep, whom we associate with, and in general, how we live.