The 11.4 million mile swab kit

I’m proud to announce that the sample collection for the building science component of Project MERCCURI is complete! In early May, Koichi Wakata from JAXA (Japan’s space exploration agency) collected swabs swabs of surfaces aboard the International Space Station. Back in June last year, Jenna, Wendy and I went to the Johnson Space Center in …

Citizen Irony

I’m working on a manuscript describing the different and particular challenges scientists in various disciplines face when incorporating citizen science into their research. So, I thought I would go looking for other articles about it, and found one with the promising title A new dawn for citizen science by Jonathan Silvertown. I’m holed up in …

Time for a new #CitizenMicrobiology project – swab all cruise ships

Well, the news just does not get any better / different for cruise ships and microbes.   Despite major efforts (or so they claim) by the cruise industry – people keep spreading Norovirus and other such illnesses aboard cruise ships.  For example, see: Illnesses Aboard California Cruise Ship Nearly Double.  Not sure just what is going …

Hidden Beauty

While searching for news about microbes in the built environment I stumbled across these fascinating photographs (electron micrographs) of symbiotic termite gut microbes. Taken with a scanning electron microscope by Kevin J. Carpenter a biologist/microscopist/photographer (and fellow Davis alum!), they just finished an exhibit at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum in January, after being displayed in …

Methinks the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could use a microbial ecologist on staph staff

ESPN reports that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers management has arranged to have one of their facilities “treated” due to presence of MRSA: Tampa Bay Buccaneers treat facility to prevent MRSA outbreak – ESPN.  Seems like this would be a good case study for a team of microbial ecologists with experience in sporting facilities.  Calling Project MERCCURI. …

Project MERCURRI encounters the Shoe Fairy #microbes #spacemicrobes #microBEnet

Well, I did not know there was a shoe fairy out there but apparently there is.  See this post Philly Shoe Fairy: Shoe Science! where the Philly Shoe Fairy discusses participating in our Project MERCURRI.  This type of response is exactly why we love the idea of partnering with Darlene Cavalier, the Science Cheerleader, because she has …

Adapting Standards: Ethical Oversight of Participant-Led Health Research

Just out in today’s edition of PLoS Medicine: Adapting Standards: Ethical Oversight of Participant-Led Health Research. The article raises questions (in my mind) about the ethics related to human genome sequencing projects. We ask, what is “informed consent” when you have your genome sequence published? What about your children’s interests, your siblings’, your descendants’ and …