A group of us from Jonathan Eisen’s lab attended the General Meeting for the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) last month in Boston. A major highlight of the conference was “We Are Not Alone: Microbial Revelations of the Built Environment,” a symposium that was organized by the Junior Advisory Group that is made up of postdocs and junior faculty to promote new hot science at ASM. The symposium was convened by Filipa Godoy-Victorino (Inter American University of Puerto Rico) and Sarah Pacocha Preheim (MIT). ASM made this promotional piece for the symposium.
This symposium had an impressive line up of speakers. James Meadow (University of Oregon, BioBE) discussed recent findings on the microbiome of classrooms and the personal microbiome of cell phones. Mark Hernandez (University of Colorado, Boulder) spoke about using real time optical methods to characterize airborne microbes. In her talk entitled Microbes Across Human Cultures, Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello (New York University) spoke on an interdisciplinary study comparing the microbiome of buildings across a transcultural gradient, ranging from a traditional village in the Amazon to the city of Manaus (that is now hosting the World Cup). I particularly enjoyed the animated architectural reconstructions of each of the sixty houses with sample sites indicated. James Scott (University of Toronto) presented a network analysis on the microbiome of indoor air and dust. Otto Schwake (Arizona State University) presented findings on a study on Legionella in windshield wiper fluid in cars and school buses. Jennifer Fouquier (San Diego State University) described her analysis of the fungal microbiome of public restrooms using the internal transcribed spacer. And Christa Gomez-Smith (University of Colorado, Boulder) gave a fascinating talk entitled “There’s something in the pipes” with amazing photos on tuberculated surfaces in water pipes.
I hope to see more symposia like this for years to come at ASM.