When you first see the word ‘humbugs’ you may automatically venture back to your childhood and picture the white and black hard candy mints which you found in the local sweet shop, or think of Christmas and ‘Bah Humbug’. However, this is not the reasoning behind the naming convention of the HumBugs blog.
HumBugs actually represent Human Bugs. Human Bugs… HumanBugs… HumBugs (Genuis!)
The human section of the name is fairly self-explanatory. The research focuses on humans, rather than animals or the environment. With the human microbiome being all of the genetic material of all of the microorganisms in a particular environment or location at one time. For our research these locations consist of primarily human tissues (placental membranes), biofluids (plasma, serum) and excretory products (faeces, breast milk).
Bugs is a common name given to bacterium, viruses and parasites. HumBugs research focuses mainly on bacteria, which are one of the contributing microorganisms to the human microbiome. Although commonly considered dangerous or negative (pathogens), bacteria can also aid in functional processes, working with the body and being beneficial either to both the bacterium and the human (mutualism) or beneficial to one, with a neutral impact on the other (commensalism). HumBugs research considers each of these aspects in detail.
This in a fashion is the reasoning behind the name HumBugs, with credit to Libby! Thus, along with sounding slightly catchier, the name is relevant to the aims of the blog and not just a personal favourite sweet.