“Earth’s Last Unexplored Wilderness: Your Very Own Home” in the July-August 2012 issue of Discover Magazine features the BioBE Center and other prominent labs leading the investigation of the indoor microbiome. Members of BioBE talk about center projects including The University of Oregon’s Lillis Business Complex and Providence Milwaukie Hospital, highlighting the importance what microbial communities are living around us and how our building design and human activities impact “who” we come into contact with on a daily basis in our homes, office buildings, and hospitals.
The BioBE center’s recent paper is among The ISME Journal’s top 10 most downloaded papers of the past 30 days. It is exciting to see such broad interest in the intersection of architecture and biology!
The BioBE Center’s inaugural article was published today in The ISME Journal (available online via Open Access). In it, Kembel et al. report the influence of architectural design on airborne microbial communities in a Portland-area hospital. As compared to outdoor air, the authors find that indoor air harbors less microbial diversity and a higher proportion of potentially pathogenic bacteria. The structure and composition of airborne microbial communities was correlated to a range of building attributes, suggesting that indoor microbiomes can be managed by judiciously manipulating building design and operation. Taken together, these results make the case for evidence-based architectural design informed by a solid understanding of indoor microbial ecology.
Once again, you can see Jessica Green discuss this work at TedGlobal 2011 here.
The Pioneer Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation invited the BioBE Center to TEDMED 2011 to explore TEDMED’s Twenty Great Challenges of Health and Medicine. BioBE has been assigned to gather information during the conference from TEDMED attendees about Challenge #10: Stopping hospital infections – why is this problem so hard?
A highlight of the meeting included an inspired talk by Michael Graves on the design of patient rooms in health care facilities. Having spent an extraordinary amount of time in health care facilities himself, Michael understands the value of designing spaces with the patient in mind. He noted that as technology gets bigger, the patient room is getting smaller. His work addresses how to design spaces and furniture that will reduce the probability of infection and increase the feeling of being at home.