Clarisse Betancourt wins best poster at Healthy Buildings America 2015

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Clarisse’s poster, entitled “Towards assessing the viability of the indoor microbiome using flow cytometry,” was one of three selected for a Best Poster award at the Healthy Buildings America 2015 meeting this past week in Boulder, CO. The truly enviable prize included an Almonds and Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate bar from Chocolove. Congratulations, Clarisse!

ASM Colloquium on the Microbiology of Built Environments

BioBE researcher Jeff Kline has been invited to participate in a colloquium on the microbiology of the built environment, convened by American Academy of Microbiology within the American Society for Microbiology. This event, to be held in September in Washington, D.C., will bring together a small group of experts with a breadth of knowledge to discuss architectural design, microbial ecology, and human health. A report for wide distribution will follow based on the deliberations.

Sloan Foundation renews BioBE funding for another 2 years, $1.325M

The BioBE Center has just been awarded a 2-year $1.325M renewal grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to investigate the relationship between architectural design and the indoor microbiome – the collection of bacteria, fungi and viruses found inside of buildings – with the goal of optimizing the design and operation of buildings to promote both human health and environmental sustainability.

To date, the BioBE Center has had several significant achievements in research, outreach, and training. BioBE Center research has revealed that indoor microbial communities in air, on surfaces, and in dust are affected by design choices such as form, organization, and ventilation (1-4). These scientific findings have been communicated to the general public through extensive coverage from public media outlets including TED, BBC News, the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover, NBC, Wired, and Forbes. In the process of performing this research, the BioBE Center has trained numerous UO students and postdoctoral scholars that have successfully moved onto new scientific and architectural endeavors.

In this next stage, the BioBE Center will expand the exploration of the indoor microbiome to understand how daylighting and chemicals in the built environment impact the function of microbial communities. Special attention will be paid to the role of antimicrobial chemicals in promoting antibiotic resistance indoors.

This grant also includes resources to host a conference at the University of Oregon focused on built environment microbiome models and evidence-based energy design. The BioBE Center will host a panel of experts in indoor air air quality, energy efficient design, statistical modeling and forecasting and possibly machine learning to discuss best practices to guide the optimization of energy use and microbiome health in built environments.

1: Meadow JF, Altrichter AE, Kembel SW, Moriyama M, O’Connor TK, Womack AM, Brown GZ, Green JL, Bohannan BJ. Bacterial communities on classroom surfaces vary with human contact. Microbiome. 2014 Mar 7; 2(1):7.

2: Kembel SW, Meadow JF, O’Connor TK, Mhuireach G, Northcutt D, Kline J, Moriyama M, Brown GZ, Bohannan BJ, Green JL. Architectural design drives the biogeography of indoor bacterial communities. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 29; 9(1):e87093.

3: Meadow JF, Altrichter AE, Kembel SW, Kline J, Mhuireach G, Moriyama M, Northcutt D, O’Connor TK, Womack AM, Brown GZ, Green JL, Bohannan BJ. Indoor airborne bacterial communities are influenced by ventilation, occupancy, and outdoor air source. Indoor Air. 2014 Feb; 24(1):41-8.

4: Kembel SW, Jones E, Kline J, Northcutt D, Stenson J, Womack AM, Bohannan BJ, Brown GZ, Green JL. Architectural design influences the diversity and structure of the built environment microbiome. ISME J. 2012 Aug; 6(8):1469-79.

Kyla Martichuski received a 2015 UOWGS Undergraduate Summer Research Award

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Kyla is one of the two recipients of the 2015 University of Oregon Women in Graduate Sciences (UOWGS) Undergraduate Summer Research Award. The UOWGS organization focuses on the professional development of women in all disciplines of science. This award is provided to undergraduate women students to conduct research during the summer. Congratulations Kyla!

Kyla Martichuski and Andy Siemens presented their research projects in the 5th Annual Undergraduate Symposium

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Photo credit: Top, Ann Klein. Bottom, Lesli Larson and Mandi Garcia from the UO 5th Annual Undergraduate Symposium.

Kyla and Andy presented their research projects in the Fifth Annual Undergraduate Symposium at the University of Oregon. Kyla did an oral presentation about her research on fungi diversity in the atmosphere. Andy showed his preliminary results about the effects of different light wavelengths on dust microbiome in a poster presentation. Read more about this symposium and look at more pictures here.

Clarisse Betancourt and Gwynne Mhuireach received scholarships to attend the Healthy Buildings America 2015

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Clarisse Betancourt Román and Gwynne Mhuireach have both been awarded scholarships to attend and present their research at the Healthy Buildings 2015 America Conference in Boulder, CO, July 19-22. The mission of the conference is to promote collaboration among built environment researchers and practitioners in order to make buildings healthier and more sustainable. Clarisse and Gwynne will be presenting in a special session focused on Urban and Indoor Environments.

Engaging the Design Profession

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Bringing together facilities professionals from the regional healthcare industry, the seminar “Creating Healthy Buildings: Natural Light and Ventilation Design in Healthcare Applications” was held April 22, Earth Day, at the Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory’s (ESBL’s) Portland office. Presenters included Kent Duffy, FAIA, of SRG Partnership – “Integrating Daylight for Places of Healing”, Bob Gulick, PE, of Mazzetti – “Natural Ventilation in Healthcare”, and G.Z. Brown, FAIA, and Jeff Kline of ESBL – “Linking Energy and Health”. In describing BioBE’s recent findings, Brown and Kline discussed the past and speculated on the future of architecture to promote health.

Kyla Martichuski received a 2015 Barry Goldwater Scholarship

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Kyla is one of the two recipients from an Oregon university. The Goldwater Scholarship is a prestigious national award that recognized undergraduates for their work in science, mathematics and engineering. Kyla is researching the diversity and temporal dynamics of fungal communities in the atmosphere. The University of Oregon wrote an article about the great news titled “Two UO juniors named 2015 Goldwater Scholars“. Congratulations Kyla!