Incorporating quantity into microbiome analysis

In addition to thinking about appropriate statistical analyses given the compositional nature of microbiome data sets (see the previous post here), there is a related but different issue that’s back on my mind – the benefit that quantitative information would bring to research questions. My engineering colleagues in the built environment world have consistently reminded …

Humans as collectors and emitters of environmental microbes

As part of the Healthy Buildings 2015 America Conference, there was a technical session on Indoor Microbiome Research where we discussed strategies on, among other things, how to sample and analyze bioaerosols using modern high throughput sequencing techniques. In that workshop, we did a small exercise highlighting the potential for humans to transport microbes into …

Built environment and more at MSA2016

The Mycological Society of America’s annual meeting (program) was held at UC Berkeley this year with the theme of “Sequencing the Environment.” The Sloan Foundation sponsored three symposia to 1) highlight ongoing studies of fungi in the built environment and 2) further understanding of the fundamental processes that structure fungal communities, including those of indoor environments. …

Berkeley research on the microbial ecology of the built environment

We at the Berkeley Indoor Microbial Ecology Research Consortium (BIMERC) are thrilled to have received a renewal grant from the Sloan Foundation to understand the microbial ecology of the built environment as mediated by interactions among organisms, particulate matter, and volatile and non-volatile chemicals. This grant gives us an opportunity to expand on our collaborative work that combines …

Breaking down human emissions

Microbiology of the Built Environment research these recent years have explored how humans are a source of microbes and microbial products indoors. To further study the effect of human occupancy on the biological aerosols of indoor space, our research group at Berkeley decided to move from observation studies to controlled experiments to isolate – and quantify – this …

Baby cages

I admit, I am intrigued by the use of baby cages in recent history. Under what circumstances is outdoor air better than indoor air – from a microbial exposure perspective – is an ongoing and fascinating question. The image of a baby hanging out a window in a chicken-wire cage graphically encapsulates that debate. Talk of baby cages …

“Ghosts” and the indoor microbiome

Now for something lighter. The website Science Daily reported on a study at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, to look at mold in houses reported to be haunted. The news announcement reports, “By comparing these samples to samples from places with no reported hauntings, the researchers hope to identify factors unique to the haunted …

Not quite space, but microbes in high altitudes

Thanks to a recent tweet, I saw a paper I would have surely otherwise missed: A method for sampling microbial aerosols using high altitude balloons in the Journal of Microbiological Methods. A method for sampling microbial aerosols using high altitude balloons w/ @nbryan5 http://t.co/jyXLOjEdP7 — Cameron Thrash (@DrJCThrash) November 11, 2014 The proud LSU Tiger …

Fungal Workshop

On September 22-23, the Alfred P Sloan Foundation sponsored a workshop at UC Berkeley entitled: Workshop to advance fungi in the built environment. It was the second workshop the Foundation sponsored to strengthen specific areas within their Microbiology of the Built Environment, the first workshop being on Building Science that Brent Stephens wrote about previously. The workshop …