Report on 2020 Spacecraft-Associated Genome Analysis (SAGAn) workshop at NASA JPL

So this last week, we ran a workshop on bacterial genomics at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).  Who is “we”?  An amazing collaboration across several institutions.  The whole thing was initiated by Dr. Parag Vaishampayan (NASA-JPL), who contacted myself (UC Davis), Dr. Elinne Becket (Cal State San Marcos), and Dr. Kenisha Johnson (Alabama A&M) about …

Staying alive in the built environment

Skin-associated bacteria are abundant indoors. A comparison across studies shows that up to 30% of bacterial sequences detected indoors are associated with the human body (see Table 1 in this 2016 paper). I’ve been kind of skeptical that these sequences represented live organisms, however. Rather, I suspected the high proportion of sequences that were human-associated …

Journal Club: “Home chemical and microbial transitions across urbanization”

Another really interesting paper from Maria Dominguez-Bello and her lab and colleagues, “Home chemical and microbial transitions across urbanization”.  They’ve done some fascinating work in the past on the microbiome changes across an urbanization gradient and here they expand that work to include a bunch of chemistry data.  Definitely worth a read for anyone interested …

How does flooring type impact your indoor chemistry and indoor microbiology?

Carpets are a favored flooring type. They can be soft, cozy, and warm – and help with keeping noise levels down. Carpet can even help prevent injury. While these attributes are well recognized, what is less known is how carpet compares with other flooring types in affecting your indoor environmental exposures. To help address this …

Job posting: Metagenomics analysis of spacecraft at JPL (Postdoctoral Fellow)

I’m a sucker for space microbiome research, I admit.   Here’s a great sounding postdoc opportunity with our collaborator Parag Vaishampayan at JPL. Job Details Job ID: 11208 We ask the biggest questions, then search the universe for answers—literally. And, with great opportunities come great responsibilities! In the Biotechnology and Planetary Protection group at JPL, we …

Microbiological of the built environment news story of interest: 5 more deaths linked to mold infections at Seattle Children’s Hospital

Just a quick post here pointing people to this news story.  I do not know the details of the science /proof here but this certainly seems of potential interest. SEATTLE (KOMO) – Five more deaths have been linked to infections from a mold in operating rooms at Seattle Children’s Hospital, CEO Dr. Jeff Sperring revealed …

Legionella sequencing in tap water and clinical isolates from Flint, MI

So this was a very interesting paper to be involved in.  On the one hand all our lab really did was to facilitate some genome sequencing and help with the assemblies, validation of those assemblies, and some genomics work.   Standard fare for the lab.  But… these were over 100 Legionella pneumophila isolates collected from either …

Water, microbes and space 

Some cool new projects funded by NASA including one on microbes in water in space being run by Jiseon Yang at ASU. NASA has awarded 15 grants for new space biology research designed to help the agency achieve its goals under the Artemis lunar exploration program. Teams of investigators will use state-of-the-art Source: NASA Artemis …

Space Station conditions are selective but do not alter microbial characteristics relevant to human health

Human space exploration beyond Earth and Moon is a declared goal of NASA, ESA, Roscosmos and other space-faring agencies, with human Mars mission envisioned in the near future. One of the major challenges of the mission is protecting the human crew from illness and infection caused by harmful biological contaminants. To evaluate these challenges in …

The report from Kaunas: ISES-ISIAQ 2019

Last week, the International Societies of Exposure Science and Indoor Air Quality had their joint meeting in Kaunas, Lithuania. The meeting featured a lot of great research on topics ranging from the thermal comfort of clothes to exposure to heavy metals from e-cigarettes and everything in between. While we can’t summarize the whole meeting here, …