Really cool sounding Built Environment Research Facility… but what about microbes?

The Mayo Clinic in MN has built a research facility called the “Well Living Lab” which aims to help research connections between health and the built environment.   Here’s a description of the facility from their website:

At the Lab, we research the real-world impact of indoor environments on human health and well-being, and generate evidence-based information that can be used in practical ways to create healthier indoor spaces. Our one-of-a-kind research facility is completely reconfigurable and features advanced sensor technology and remote monitoring that allows people who participate in our studies to move about freely–as they normally would–unencumbered by wires, devices and monitors. But research is not limited to the Lab environment: our remote monitoring control center allows us to observe and track study participants outside the Lab, at home, work or play.

This sounds like an awesome research facility, with all sorts of cool research planned.  Much has already been written about the facility for example here at Wired and here at Forbes.

But with all the attention being paid to ideas such as sleep research, productivity optimization, and stress… I couldn’t find virtually any mention of microbiology work.  Neither the Mayo Clinic, nor the Lab website mention microbes.   The Forbes article says “Sensors are embedded in the floor, walls, and furniture that monitor everything from air particulate matter, to sound, to the microbial makeup of the space, to the physical postures of test subjects.” (emphasis mine).

Seems like it would be a real shame to have a research facility like this and to not examine the influence of other experiments on the microbial communities of either the space or the participants.


One thought on “Really cool sounding Built Environment Research Facility… but what about microbes?

  1. Response from Twitter:

    and then follow up in response to a question of mine

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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