BioBE human microbial cloud research featured on Science Friday

Get up close and personal with BioBE Center Director Jessica Green and postdoc Roxana Hickey as they discuss research on the human microbial cloud performed in collaboration with the Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory! The Science Friday video released today highlights recent findings published by former Center member James Meadow and colleagues in the journal PeerJ, along with present and future research being conducted in the BioBE Center. To learn more, stay tuned for the Science Friday podcast on January 29th at 2 p.m. on Portland station KOPB at 550 AM and 1600 AM in Eugene or at 11 a.m. online at

Video: Your Very Special Microbial Cloud
Produced by Luke Groskin

Related story: Science Friday chases bugs with UO research (AroundtheO)

Gwynne Mhuireach to teach a design-oriented microbiome course this winter

Researchers studying the microbiology of the built environment have discovered linkages between architectural/urban design and microbial communities. Gwynne will introduce design students (architecture, landscape architecture, planning, etc.) to this field of research and elicit their responses regarding application of the scientific findings to design practice. Students will be asked to post questions to microBEnet later in the term – stay tuned!

AIA Design + Health Consortium 2015 Progress Report released

BioBE work was highlighted in the recently released annual progress report from the AIA Design + Health Consortium. Our team of BioBE members and health researchers from the Oregon Research Institute was selected for the inaugural Consortium cohort, and is the only team studying the impact of architectural design on microbial communities and related human health implications. Download the entire report here:

Andy Siemens received a UROP mini grant award


Andy is one of the recipients of the University of Oregon Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) mini grant award. This award will provide Andy with $1,000 to support his ongoing research. Andy’s research project focused on the effects of different light wavelengths on dust microbiome under the guidance of Jessica Green and Erica Hartmann. Congratulations Andy!


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.