Worth a look: Are Pets the New Probiotic? in the NY Times

There is a news story of interest from a few weeks ago in the NY Times: Are Pets the New Probiotic? – The New York Times It discusses the concept and some of the research on how animals and their microbiomes could in some cases play a role in shaping the human immune system and human …

Hospital microbiome study news coverage

Lots of news stories about a new paper from Jack Gilbert, Simon Lax, and many others on results of their “Hospital Microbiome” study.  I apologize that, since I am co-running a conference for the next two days I just have not had time to read all these stories and the paper and thus do not yet …

Reasonably cautious but optimistic editorial on “The human microbiome: an emerging tool in forensics” 

I have personally been interested in microbial forensics of various kinds for quite a while (I worked at TIGR for many years and was peripherally involved in some of the anthrax DNA sequencing and analysis there).  I have even served on various working groups from the US Government discussing the potential for microbes to be …

June 20-21 Meeting #2 for NAS Microbiomes of the Built Environment Study

Coming next week June 20-21 Meeting #2 of the NAS study on Microbiomes of the Built Environment. Meeting is free to attend in person or online and the agenda includes some amazing people so it should be worth checking out. Some more detail from their website is below: The study’s second public meeting will be held …

The kittybiome Project – background and some plans

A little update here.  Last week a group of us launched a new participatory science project on the microbiome of cats. It is called “kittybiome” and we have launched a Kickstarter fundraiser for the project — more information about the project and how one can get involved can be found at the Kickstarter home page: …

US Program Seeks Comments on Connections Between Climate Change & Human Health

There are many possible ways in which climate change could impact human health.  The U. S. Global Change Research Program has issued a new draft report on this topic and is soliciting public comments about this report (see USGCRP Climate for more information). The report is The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: …

Modeling microbial metabolism on indoor surfaces

We have recently been awarded a new research program by the Alfred P Sloan Foundation to further develop out understanding of how bacterial, archaeal, viral and fungal communities interact on indoor surfaces. This research will be led by Jack Gilbert (University of Chicago), in collaboration with Chris Henry (UChicago), Brent Stephens (Illinois Institute of Technology), …

More than just a fingerprint-our microbes are efficient hotel “cleaners,” too!

Think hotel rooms are gross?  An elegant study led by Jack Gilbert, published Thursday in Science Reports, suggests that our resident microbes could help ease our minds on this issue, as they very quickly populate hotel rooms (and houses, more on that below) to make our hotels microbiologically identical to our homes within 24 hours. …