“Microbes in the City” meeting looks awesome

Just got wind of this upcoming meeting, “Microbes in the City: Mapping the Urban Genome” that looks like it has a fantastic series of talks lined up.   The meeting is a single day, June 19th, and is hosted by The New York Academy of Sciences and New York University.  From the conference website, here’s the description of the meeting:

Microbes run the world. The human body and our environment are inhabited by trillions of bacteria and other microbes that carry out the majority of the biochemical activity on the planet. From birth, all of our interactions with the world expose us to different sources of microbes, and, conversely, expose microbes to us. As humans settle into built environments within urban settings, microorganisms both within and around us are changing accordingly. Yet we still understand very little about the complex, interdependent microbial ecosystems found in the built environment. By virtue of recent technological breakthroughs in sensing, sampling, and genetic sequencing of the microbes in our midst, we can quantify and map microbial transmission between humans, urban pests such as cockroaches and pigeons, and the air and surfaces of urban habitats – from kiosks and subways, to soil and sewage.

This conference will bring together scientists, engineers, architects, public health workers, ethicists, and policy makers at the forefront of efforts to map all of the genetic information that makes up the urban genome. This information–a living microbial fingerprint known as a metagenome–is intended to be used to create built environments that consider microbial ecology. The goal is to improve the health and productivity of these environments such that we may be able to design healthier homes and workplaces, identify potential health threats, track and fight disease epidemics, and even chart the environmental impact of major storms.

And here’s the meeting agenda:

June 19, 2015

8:00 AM Registration, Breakfast, and Poster Setup
8:45 AM Welcome Remarks
Representative, New York University (NYU)
Representative, The New York Academy of Sciences

Session 1. Microbes, Metagenomes, and Humans

Chairperson to Be Announced

9:00 AM Session 1 Keynote
Genomic Analysis of Microbial Communities: What Have We Learned?
Jo Handelsman, PhD, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
9:30 AM Missing Microbes and the (Mis)use of Antibiotics
Martin J. Blaser, MD, New York University Langone Medical Center
9:50 AM Go Viral:How Crowd Sourcing Can Help in the Fight against Infectious Diseases
Rumi Chunara, PhD, New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering
10:10 AM Presentation Selected From Abstracts
Talk Title to Be Determined
Speaker to Be Selected from Submitted Abstracts
10:30 AM Networking Coffee Break

Session 2. The Urban Metagenome I

Chairperson to Be Announced

11:00 AM Session 2 Keynote
The Changing Face of Pathogen Discovery
W. Ian Lipkin, MD, Center for Infection and Immunity, Columbia University
11:30 AM The Built Environment Microbiome: Health and Disease
Jack Gilbert, PhD, Argonne National Laboratory
11:50 AM Using Metagenomics to Map Transmission of Species, Strains, and Genes
Eric Alm, PhD, Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
12:10 PM Presentation Selected From Abstracts
Talk Title to Be Determined
Speaker to Be Selected from Submitted Abstracts

Session 3. The Urban Metagenome II

Chairperson to Be Announced

12:30 PM Networking Luncheon and Poster Session
2:00 PM Session 3 Keynote
Microbial Communities in an Urban Mass Transit System
Curtis Huttenhower, PhD, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
2:30 PM Metagenomics of the New York City Subway
Christopher Mason, PhD, Institute for Computational Biomedicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
2:50 PM Sewage: Characterizing the Protists
Jane Carlton, PhD, New York University Center for Genomics and Systems Biology
3:10 PM Presentation Selected From Abstracts
Talk Title to Be Determined
Speaker to Be Selected from Submitted Abstracts
3:30 PM Networking Coffee Break

Session 4. The Future of Urban Metagenomics

Chairperson to Be Announced

4:00 PM Session 4 Keynote
Pests: Cockroaches, Bed-Bugs, and Urban Entomology
Coby Schal, PhD, North Carolina State University Department of Entomology
4:30 PM Closing Panel Discussion
Ethical, Legal and Social Issues of MetagenomicsModerator: Laurie Garrett, Council on Foreign RelationsPanelists:
Joel Ackelsberg, MD, MPH, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Jo Handelsman, PhD, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
Paula Olsiewski, PhD, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
5:10 PM Poster Prizes and Closing Remarks
5:30 PM Networking Reception & Poster Reception
6:30 PM End of Day

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David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter