Category: Events

Design Champs: Daylight and Microbes

This week, BioBE held the third session of our “Design Champions” webinar series, which we have been developing over the last few months as a means of actively communicating our work with industry professionals.  Design Champs brings together a small number of industry participants, to better facilitate a targeted discussion on topics relevant to building design, energy, and health in the built environment.  Design Champs is a great way for us to summarize the current body of research on a particular topic, present our work, and brainstorm with industry professionals about what next steps we need to take to fill knowledge gaps.  This week, Jeff Kline, Ashkaan Fahimipour, Mark Fretz (our new Outreach Director), and myself (Sue Ishaq) connected online with a handful of architects from Oregon, Washington, and California to talk about “Daylight and Microbes”.

Mark presented a historical perspective on the use of light in architecture, and how factors like the price of glass shape the way buildings were and are designed, and even impact human health.

I added an overview of selected research into the effect that light has on bacteria, and how early results narrowed the focus of work into using light, particularly ultraviolet light, as a bactericidal treatment.  Yet, research has also found that other wavelengths affect bacteria in beneficial and detrimental ways, that other factors (like the presence of oxygen) can influence how dramatic that effect is, and how complex communities of microorganisms react differently than monocultures.

Next, Jeff presented a slide deck to illustrate the technical aspects of the work that BioBE has been doing to research light and microbes, including the design and creation of “lightboxes”.  This set up the last section for Ashkaan, who presented some of the results from our project studying different lighting regimes on the bacterial community in dust.  The manuscript from this project is currently in review, but we’ll be presenting on it more thoroughly once published.

BioBE is still developing the format for Design Champs, but we hope to host them every few months.  If you’d like to learn more, please email Jeff (jkline@uoregon.edu) or myself (sueishaq@uoregon.edu)!

HERC Recap: Artist Morgan Maiolie

How do you illustrate the microbiome of bacterial, fungal and viral communities to architects, engineers and building equipment manufacturers?  You commission an artist! During the events of Health and Energy Research Consortium, Morgan Maiolie was busy with a brush set to canvas. Associate Professor, and director Van Den Wymelenberg notes “We really wanted to find a way to bring the microbiome to life for the diverse consortium guests, so we decided to invite an artist to complete a live painting that responded to the research presentations.  Morgan Maiolie did an excellent job understanding and translating our scientific findings into her painting.  She made the microbiome vibrant and tangible!”

Morgan describes her inspiration, “The team of research scientists at the Biology and Built Environment Center and Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory have illuminated the world of living, breathing bacteria swirling in the air around us and this piece visualizes that invisible world.  The researchers made me aware of the key role building design plays in shaping our indoor microbiome. Buildings can act as filters, petri dishes, and wind tunnels.  I wanted the painting to conceptually reveal how bacteria might move into and through a building based on its architecture, systems, and inhabitation.”

To learn more about Maolie and her work, please visit her website: maiolie.com.

This post is part of a blog series sharing information covered at the Health Energy Research Consortium in Portland, OR May 4-5, 2017. 

OSU & The Corvallis Art Center: “Microbiomes: To See the Unseen”

Klari Reis petri dish art (https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjspNmOlefOAhUY52MKHWJGCgkQjRwIBw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.com%2Fpin%2F574771971167874557%2F&bvm=bv.131286987,d.cGc&psig=AFQjCNFaZz7_KZ2NSeBdt7Nb1ihd2rQT6w&ust=1472578615934970)
Klari Reis petri dish art

Graduate student Ashley Bateman recently contributed to the workshop portion of the The Microbiome Art Project, a collaboration between OSU and the Corvallis Arts Center. Artist workshops like the one she attended, bring graduate researchers and artists together to communicate & discuss current microbiome research while inspiring fantastic microbiome art! The art exhibition, “Microbiomes: To See the Unseen“, is scheduled for April 13-May 27, 2017 and will include visual artists, musicians, and poets.

2016 Pacific Northwest Women in Science Retreat

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I (Ashley Bateman) recently won a scholarship from the Women in Graduate Sciences organization at the University of Oregon, to attend the 2016 Pacific Northwest Women in Science Retreat. The event was held at Camp Magruder in Rockaway Beach, OR from July 8th-10th. The attendees and workshop leaders featured over 100 women from across the STEM career spectrum, from graduate students, technicians, and post-docs to government and industrial early and late career scientists. The focus of this retreat is on professional skill development and professional networking, especially for and with other women scientists in the region. The retreat featured 3 main workshops: A COACh workshop on the Performing Art of Science Presentations, a Rehearsals for Life: workshop, and a Bragging workshop led by the enthusiastic Judy Giordan. We also heard from and asked questions of a diverse group of women on academic, industrial, and alternative career panels.

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BioBE hosts Microbiome Science Youth Outreach event

The BioBE Center hosted its inaugural Microbiome Science Youth Outreach workshop this past Saturday, March 12. The event featured hands-on activities covering microbiology, bioinformatics and architecture led by volunteers from the Green lab and Energy Studies in Buildings Laboratory. It was attended by 21 middle-school and high-school students and mentors from the Youth Mentoring Program of the Centro Latino Americano (CLA). CLA is a multicultural nonprofit organization in Eugene dedicated to the empowerment of the local Latino community. The Youth Mentoring Program offers one on one mentoring relationships, group mentoring, and facilitates educational and enriching activities for students in Lane County.

Photo Mar 13, 8 46 24 AM

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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.

AIA Design & Health Research Consortium Kickoff

consortium slide

G.Z. Brown of BioBE and Deb Johnson-Shelton of the Oregon Research Institute attended the kickoff meeting of the AIA Design & Health Research Consortium on March 5, 2015.  Held at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, the 11 inaugural university members of the consortium heard from several invited speakers from the fields of architecture and public health. Table discussions were held around the topics of education, metrics, the “internet of things”, resilience and equity, and translation. More on the consortium can be found at http://www.aia.org/practicing/AIAB104553.

Workshop at the Society of Building Science Educators retreat

BioBE and microBEnet are partnering to bring a built environment microbiology workshop to the Society of Building Science Educators annual retreat taking place at Biosphere 2 in June. The theme of this year’s retreat is Adaptation, which will focus on “adjustment in natural or human systems [the built environment and infrastructure] in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects, to moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities.” (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).


Image © JOHN DE DIOS/SCRYER MEDIA SERVICES 2011

AAAS Meeting on Microbiomes of the Built Environment

Last week a AAAS meeting on the Microbiomes of the Built Environment was held to bring together leaders in the field to discuss existing knowledge and future directions. Jessica Green participated in the panel video above and the whole meeting is available online.

You can also check out the Storify of tweets during the meeting created by Jonathan Eisen.