Tagged: Design Champs

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)!

Design Champs

Last week, the staff of the Biology and the Built Environment Center presented cutting-edge science from the Center and beyond to a group of interested practitioners. The Design Champs webinar series is intended to communicate new scientific advances in the field of indoor microbial ecology research to architects, engineers, and other interested parties. For this second seminar in the series, we had representatives in attendance from:

  • ZGF Architects
  • HOK
  • Thornton Tomasetti
  • SRG Partnership
  • Hacker Architects

The group was lively, and participated in a active discussion of some of the science we’ve been doing at the BioBE Center lately. In particular, we briefed them on some thoughts on hygiene that we’ve been having lately, and then discussed how that might impact the way we think about design; next, we discussed the human microbial cloud, tying the idea into the discussion of hygiene and design; this led smoothly to a discussion of some of our most recent work, focusing on the transmission of microbes to the human skin microbiome. After discussing how hygiene serves as a conceptual frame for understanding both of those studies, we went on to talk about antimicrobial compounds in built environments, and how that relates to the spread of antibiotic resistance genes.

The webinar finished with a preview of related new work — a much larger study on antibiotic resistance genes in indoor microbiota, conducted across dozen of gyms in the Pacific Northwest, and including the synergistic use of next-generation sequencing for metabarcoding and metagenomics, and targeted LC-MS/MS and intensive antibiotic-resistance culture assays in association with colleagues at Northwestern in Chicago.