NAS Study released: #MOBEstudy “Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings”

So this is the culmination of a huge amount of work by a large number of folks.   The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) just released a new report “Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings”.  This report was requested by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the National …

“Schrödinger’s microbes: Tools for distinguishing the living from the dead in microbial ecosystems”

A few years ago I was hearing increasing discussion about the idea that much of the microbiology of the built environment was “stamp collecting” and that the indoor microbiome might consist largely of dead or non-viable material passively deposited indoors.  Many pweople argued that there was a need for better tools (or increased use of …

The air microbiome of a zero carbon building: personal thoughts

  In the world of built environment (BE) microbiome research, we are by now well aware that building designs have influences on the indoor microbial assemblage. Therefore, BEs that employ a multitude of innovative designs, such as green and zero carbon buildings (GBs and ZCBs), may provide us greater insight on the mechanistic basis for …

New standards recommendations on minimum information about a single amplified genome (MISAG) and a metagenome-assembled genome (MIMAG) of bacteria and archaea

Of possible interest – a new paper (on which I am a coauthor) on standards for minimum information about single cell genomes and genomes assembled from metagenomes.  See link below: Source: Minimum information about a single amplified genome (MISAG) and a metagenome-assembled genome (MIMAG) of bacteria and archaea : Nature Biotechnology : Nature Research  

Journal Club: Metagenomics on the Space Station

Microbes in space have been of interest to the folks at various space agencies for as long as we’ve been sending people into space.  Rampant mold growth on the Russian Space Station Mir was probably one of the reasons for the decision to “deorbit” the station (a fancy way of describing crashing into the ocean).  …

What is the Exposome of the Built Environment and What are the Opportunities for Intentional Design?

  Researchers at Virginia Tech’s Center for Science and Engineering of the Exposome (SEE) recently published a critical review in ES&T examining the “exposome of the built environment” and proposed engineering strategies for its control. The exposome is defined as our lifetime exposure to chemicals, microbes, and radiation and derives from anything we come into …

Has “The antibiotic course” had its day? Some say yes, some say no or not yet 

“Should we always antibiotics until the end of their course?” Well, this has been a question asked on and off over the last 10 years or so.  And this I was quite interested in a Tweet I saw from Eric Topol this AM (I note – Eric Topol on Twitter is a better source of …

“The Resilience of Life to Astrophysical Events”

So this article doesn’t really relate to the built environment but is quite interesting nonetheless.  I feel like people often say things like “an asteroid impact would kill all us humans but life would still go on”.   The study, “The Resilience of Life to Astrophysical Events” is basically a bunch of math/physics trying to figure …

Random thoughts on science-based educational games, and a new article in Nature Careers

An interesting confluence of factors has come together in recent years, resulting in an explosion of “science games”. Some of these games use science as a theme, many are educational in nature, and some few even accomplish science through gaming.   In my opinion these are the factors that have precipitated this change: Board/card/video games have …

New Paper on the Hospital Microbiome

The microbial interactions we share with built environments play a central role in shaping the microbiota of our surroundings and in the development of our own microbiome. Nowhere does this microbial flux have more profound implications for human health than in hospitals, where rooms are subject to a constant turnover in occupant, each leaving behind …