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.
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.
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.
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.
Robin Moore, Professor of Landscape Architecture at North Carolina State University and Director of The Natural Learning Initiative (www.naturalearning.org), will visit BioBE on Monday, 11/2. His lecture on “Naturalizing Childhood: Landscape Architecture’s New Quest” will be at 6:00 pm in McKenzie Hall, Room 240C.
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.
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.
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).
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.
The Sustainable Cities Initiative at the University of Oregon brought in a special speaker Monday night for a lecture titled, “Rethinking Cities: a holistic approach to sustainability and urban design.”
Mr. Stellan Fryxell is a partner at Tengbom Architects based in Stockholm, Sweden. This architecture firm has done notable work all over Scandinavia, the UK, Russia, and China, and Mr. Fryxell himself has had meetings with both Al Gore and the Chinese President to convey his exciting ideas about how to design and create sustainable cities for the future. Mr. Fryxell knows, like we do at the BioBE center, that cities are major contributors to climate issues that we are facing. Approximately 200,000 new people move into cities every single day, and cities themselves are growing geographically faster than their populations. Infrastructure investments, although currently decreasing overall, are critical to help us work better with the climate and plan more resource efficient cities. Sweden has shown that GNP can still grow with decreasing CO2 emissions, despite the significant financial investment upfront. Mr. Fryxell proposes an “urban toolkit” that will help to achieve sustainable cities – just building green buildings with passive heating and cooling and recyclable materials is not enough. Traffic and transportation must be via rapid transit or with vehicles that utilize alternative and renewable fuel sources. The biodiversity of the landscape must be taken into account, along with the re-use of water and sewage and recycling and incineration of waste for energy production. 80% of all fuel is renewable in Sweden, with co-generation of heat during fuel generation. Even sewage water is viewed as a resource for heat and biomass. Mixing air into the tap water can reduce water consumption up to 25%, further reducing energy costs. Information and communication technology (“smart” cities) will be helpful, although not critical to success of sustainability. Smart devices can certainly help it to be “easy to act correctly”, an important component of successful sustainability. What is critical, according to Mr. Fryxell, are integrated planning and design strategies in place to help encourage local engagement and diverse perspectives.
I hope that these planning teams will include advocates for designing their buildings and outdoor spaces that encourage both macro and microbial biodiversity that we think can increase the health and wellness of inhabitants.