In 2016, Josiah Zayner, a former synthetic biology research scientist at NASA, checked himself into a hotel room. Over the course of four days, he performed an extremely risky experiment on himself. The goal: “To completely replace all of the bacteria that are contained within my body.”
Gut Hack, a short documentary by Kate McLean and Mario Furloni, chronicles Zayner’s attempt to transplant his microbiome in order to relieve himself of a lifetime of debilitating gastrointestinal problems. “All of the medical doctors [I’ve seen] haven’t helped,” Zayner says in the film. “You just expect me to deal with my symptoms for the rest of my life? Why are people so afraid of something different—some change, some experiment?” Using bacterial samples from a donor, Zayner takes matters into his own hands to recolonize his body with a new ecosystem of microorganisms.
“This movie is our attempt to share Josiah’s grueling and grotesque ordeal,” McLean told The Atlantic, “and communicate how it felt to behold this weird period of his life: alternately full of wonder, disgust, anxiety, excitement, exhaustion, and awe.”
Zayner expressed concerns about the way in which the public has interpreted his biohacking experiments. “I see myself as a scientist but also a social activist,” he said. “How can I do experiments in a scientific way but also make people think?”
Read full, original post: A ‘Grueling and Grotesque’ Biohacking Experiment