Category: News

Dr. Sue Ishaq joins the BioBE team!

Hello, readers! I’m Dr. Sue Ishaq, the newest Research Assistant Professor hire in the BioBE center at the University of Oregon.  I’ve been at the center for two weeks now, and I thought I’d introduce myself as I’ll soon be a regular contributor to the center’s research efforts and blog.  I’m a microbial ecologist with a focus on host-associated microbiomes. My baccalaureate and doctorate were both in animal science and nutrition from the University of Vermont, in Burlington.  As a Ph.D. student in the Wright Lab, my work focused on identifying and manipulating the bacteria, methanogens, and protozoa in the rumen of the North American moose.  For the past two years, I was a post-doctoral researcher at Montana State University, in Bozeman.  For one year, I was in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences performing the bioinformatic analyses for multiple host-associated and environmental projects in the Yeoman Lab.  My second year was in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences in the Menalled Lab, where I was part of a large project investigating the effect of climate change on wheat production.  For my part, this meant assessing the changes to soil bacteria over time and under different climate scenarios.

Here at the BioBE, I’ll be adding my experience in host-associated microbiomes, bacterial ecology, and health, to the growing collaborative research team.  Over the course of the summer, I’ll be writing several grants and organizing new projects that explore how building design, occupancy, pets, and human habits affect human health and the indoor microbiome.  If you happened to have been at the Health + Energy Research Consortium, held in Portland in May, you might have seen me around, and I’ll also be at the Ecological Society of America meeting in Portland, OR in August.  You can follow me on my personal blog and, of course, you can find me on the BioBE blog!

Multiple Positions Open at University of Oregon BioBE Center

Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg and Jessica Green, of the Biology and the Built Environment Center (BioBE), are currently seeking a microbial ecology Research Associate / Research Assistant Professor / Research Associate Professor (non-tenure track faculty) to investigate fundamental questions surrounding the role of microorganisms (bacteria, archaea, fungi, protists, and viruses) in the built environment and in relation to human health outcomes. Applicants must have a Ph.D. in biology, bioinformatics, or a related discipline.

The ideal candidate will have a combination of domain expertise and leadership potential. With regards to domain expertise, candidates should possess a demonstrated ability to generate and interpret microbiome data. Deep knowledge in data analytics, bioinformatics, and/or clinical microbiology is highly desirable. From a leadership perspective, we are seeking candidates that: are comfortable working on multiple concurrent projects with interdisciplinary scientists comprising a diverse range of experience (undergraduate through postdoc); have demonstrated a record of scientific writing and scholarly productivity; have a record of, or evidence of potential for, obtaining external research funding.

The successful candidate will have the ability to work with faculty, students, and industry partners from a variety of diverse backgrounds and the opportunity to creatively and independently engage in research at the BioBE Center (http://biobe.uoregon.edu/), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, federal agencies, and members of industry.

The BioBE Center is training a new generation of innovators to study the built environment microbiome, including the diversity of microorganisms interacting with each other and with the indoor environment. The vision of this national research center is to understand buildings and urban environments as complex systems and to explore how urban, architectural, and building system (passive and active) design work to shape the microbiome, with the ultimate goal of designing healthy and sustainable buildings and cities.

For more information or to apply, see the full job post.

Linking antimicrobials and antibiotic resistance genes in indoor dust

Previous BioBE postdoc Erica Hartmann (now Assistant Professor at Northwestern University!), along with several BioBE researchers and members of Curtis Huttenhower’s (Harvard) and Rolf Halden’s (Arizona State) research groups, recently published a paper establishing a link between antimicrobials and antibiotic resistance genes in indoor dust. Dr. Hartmann published a post summarizing the main findings at microBEnet. The paper is freely available in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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 sciencefriday.com.

Video: Your Very Special Microbial Cloud
Produced by Luke Groskin

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

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: http://www.aia.org/press/AIAB107729.

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’

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-34314065

James Gallagher writing in the BBC

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

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/09/22/youre-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”

http://www.cbsnews.com/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”

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/09/22/441841735/wherever-you-go-your-personal-cloud-of-microbes-follows

Article by Rob Stein

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

http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2015/09/you-re-surrounded-your-own-personal-cloud-microbes

Article by Hanae Armitage

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

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/09/inside-the-germ-cloud/406591/

Article by Cari Romm

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

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/you-produce-microbial-cloud-can-act-invisible-fingerprint-180956698/

Article by Brian Handwerk

 

http://www.newsweek.com/microbial-cloud-aka-auras-are-basically-real-375010