New publication in the open-access journal Biogeosciences

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A new paper authored by BioBE Center Director Jessica Green and former Center members Ann (Womack) Klein and Brendan Bohannan was recently published in the open-access journal Biogeosciences. The paper examined fungal communities in the atmosphere over the Amazon rainforest canopy using DNA- and RNA- based sequencing to examine the total and metabolically active communities, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first study to sequence RNA from outdoor air samples. Collecting and isolating RNA from air samples required the development of novel methods which open the door for future studies of metabolically active microorganisms in the built environment.

BioBE women join the OpEd Project

Photo credit: Chelsea Carmona, the OpEd Project

BioBE members Erica Hartmann and Clarisse Betancourt attended the OpEd Project in San Francisco this weekend. The program, geared toward increasing the voice of women and minorities in public discourse and especially oped pieces, also contains tips and tricks that are invaluable for communicating with the public and for persuasive (read: grant) writing. After two days of intensive training and an invigorating exchange of ideas, Erica and Clarisse are excited to write their first oped pieces.

For more information about the project, and to find a seminar near you, check out their website.

Erica and Clarisse were sponsored to attend this event by a generous grant from the Harnisch Foundation.

Call for a Unified Microbiome Initiative

BioBE Center Director Jessica Green co-authored the recently published proposal for a Unified Microbiome Initiative. The goal is “to discover and advance tools to understand and harness the capabilities of Earth’s microbial ecosystems.” Read more about it–and hear what postdoc Erica Hartmann has to say–in the Around the O article here.

Read the paper here: Alivisatos et al. 2015

Microbiota of the Indoor Environment: A Meta-Analysis

Congratulations to all on this recently published paper in the journal Microbiome, from BioBE co-authors James Meadow & Ashley Bateman, with collaborators Rachel Adams & Holly Bik. This project was born during a 2013 NESCent Catalysis Meeting on “Evolution in the Indoor Biome”. Hoping to address broad-scale ecological questions with as many high-throughput sequencing datasets as possible, the published manuscript describes several significant technical and biological findings. See this microbenet post for a summary of the most important results.

New BioBE publication in PeerJ: “Humans differ in their personal microbial cloud”

Congratulations to all co-authors on the successful publication of their research in ESBL’s comfort chamber (affectionately, the Pickle Box). There has been a lot of excitement in the press; some links to articles in the media are listed below, and are also located at the end of the article on the PeerJ website.

PeerJ constructed this simplified, infographic summary of the study. PeerJ constructed this simplified, infographic summary of the study.


The BBC: Everyone has a ‘microbial cloud’

James Gallagher writing in the BBC

The Washington Post: “You’re surrounded by a cloud of bacteria as unique as a fingerprint”

Article by Rachel Feltman

CBS News: “People emit a unique “microbial cloud” of bacteria, study finds”

Article by Sara Miller

NPR: “Wherever You Go, Your Personal Cloud Of Microbes Follows”

Article by Rob Stein

Science: “You’re surrounded by your own personal cloud of microbes”

Article by Hanae Armitage

The Atlantic: “Your Microbe Aura Could Be as Distinctive as Your Fingerprint”

Article by Cari Romm

The Smithsonian: “You Produce a Microbial Cloud That Can Act Like an Invisible Fingerprint”

Article by Brian Handwerk

American Academy of Microbiology Colloquium

BioBE researcher Jeff Kline participated in a colloquium titled “The Microbiology of Built Environments”. The event was hosted by the American Academy of Microbiology, the honorific branch of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM), and was held on Sept. 9, 2015, in Washington, D.C. A small group of individuals with a wide breadth of knowledge on the topic were invited to examine the state-of-the-art of research into microbial ecosystems found in built environments. The day’s deliberations addressed questions including research methods, factors impacting the composition of microbial communities, health, microbial metabolic effects on built environment chemistry, ways of encouraging scientific collaboration, and the implications of the research for the creation and use of built environments. The discussions will result in the publication of a report aimed at ASM’s membership and one or more publications for other audiences.