19 October 2021 – Elin Org studies the interaction between the human microbiome and health. Based at the Estonian Genome Centre at the University of Tartu, she uses the Estonian Biobank, that comprises genetic information from over 200,000 individuals, together with national health records, and microbiome data from 2,500 individuals, for her research. This wealth of data is proving to be very valuable. “We can track the effects of, for example, regular medication intake on the microbiome, and investigate correlations of microbiome changes with diseases. Such a large and rich data set is hard to find elsewhere,” she explains.
“International researchers also see the opportunity we have here,” says Org, who collaborates with colleagues from across Europe. An EMBO Installation Grant helped her to start her group in 2017 and forge collaborations. “I’m discovering that being a group leader is not only about doing outstanding science, but also about working with people,” she says. “The EMBO Lab Leadership Courses were very valuable.” When asked what she loves about Estonia, she doesn’t hesitate. “The natural beauty!” she says. “Every summer Estonians long to swap the city for the nature reserves!”