Microbiome informed design – air quality, avoiding filtering, and lichens


This is one of those stories / articles / posts that simultaneously fascinates me and freaks me out a bit and for which I fluctuate wildly between those two points of view:

bioME – RSA Human By Nature Entry on Behance By Candice de Aguiar

Her basic design idea here is to allow for more microbial diversity in indoor air via a custimaizable system to have terrariums inside a filtration bubble basically (I think).  With lichens providing some of the air filtration.

I talked to her a bit a while back and there is a section in here with what seem like quotes from me.  I think these are almost certainly her summaries of what I said since I cannot imagine having said some of those things and some of what I am reported to have said makes me cringe.  Be that as it may, the conecpt is fascinating.  And potentially worrysome.  But rather than pre-bias people’s interpretations too much – I suggest you go check out her site.

2 thoughts on “Microbiome informed design – air quality, avoiding filtering, and lichens

  1. This sounds a bit like taking existing ideas, regarding for example the work from Jessica Green on hospitals and then extrapolating that into areas beyond what is warranted by the data. Since when do lichens “mirror the activity of microorganisms in the room”? No discussion of the chemical nature of indoor air pollution (as opposed to the indoor microbiome). And it shouldn’t matter… but typos on the website raise flags.

    1. It should be noted this is a design project, not an actual plan. See the sidebar where she writes

      “This project was my entry into the RSA Student Design Competition 2015 for the brief Human by Nature which can be found here: http://sda.thersa.org/en/challenge/rsa-student-design-awards-2015/phase/ideation-phase-2/track/human-by-nature-en I designed a bioinformed ventilation system that provides a constant fresh air supply, creating a more diverse built environment microbiome, similar to that found naturally outside”

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Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. My lab is in the UC Davis Genome Center and I hold appointments in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine and the Department of Evolution and Ecology in the College of Biological Sciences. My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis (see my lab site here which has more information on lab activities).  In addition to research, I am heavily involved in the Open Access publishing and Open Science movements.