Screenshot 2015-10-02 15.04.59

Nominations sought for NAS Committee on Microbiomes of the Built Environment

Just got sent this by Katherine Bowman from the Board on Life Sciences.  This is really important and if you know of someone who would be good please consider nominating them.Screenshot 2015-10-02 15.04.59



Request for Committee Nominations — Microbiomes of the Built Environment: From Research to Application

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are embarking on a new consensus study, “Microbiomes of the Built Environment: From Research to Application.” Much remains unknown about the development and evolution of microbial communities in indoor spaces such as homes and workplaces, how these microbial communities are affected by environmental conditions, and how they affect a building and its inhabitants. The study will assess the current base of knowledge on the microbiome/built environment interface and identify key research gaps that need to be addressed to enable emerging microbial knowledge to be applied in ways that positively impact building and infrastructure design and human health.

Humans spend roughly 90 percent of each day indoors in environments built for shelter and environmental control. Research has shown that within these environments there exist a vast number and diversity of species of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa in the air, water, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and on surfaces. These constitute dynamic microbial communities or microbiomes. The nature, composition, diversity, evolution, and growth of these microbiomes are influenced by interactions with humans, animals, and plants, and by factors such as air flow, temperature, humidity, chemical exposures, and building materials. These factors are, in turn, shaped by the design, construction, operation, occupation, and use of the built environments.

The ~20-month study will serve as a guide to key issues and questions in the field. It will identify scientific, technical, engineering, and health-related knowledge gaps and map out basic and applied research agendas and priorities to guide actionable knowledge to improve the microbiome/built environment interface.

Expertise Needed

Nominations are sought for approximately 15 experts to serve on the study committee in areas such as microbial genetics and ecology, environmental science, data and computational sciences, materials science, engineering, architecture and building sciences, indoor air quality, and public health. Because of the cross-cutting nature of the topic, the committee will include multiple perspectives from the life and physical sciences, engineering, and health communities.

To make a nomination, kindly send the person’s name, affiliation, contact information, and a brief statement on why he or she is relevant to the study topic. Nominations can be made directly through the project website at Nominations are requested by October 15

Thank you for helping us ensure that the most well qualified and diverse committee is appointed to undertake this task. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at kbowman@nas.edu202-334-2638 or through our study email,


Leave a Reply

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.