Thinking about microbial quantity and function

One of the hurdles in linking microbial ecology with building science has been incorporating quantitative information about the microorganisms encountered in indoor environments, mainly because the standard high-throughput amplicon approach for community analysis is semi-quantitative, at best. Over the summer, there was a Twitter conversation related to this topic. My take-away from this (what I view …

How important is hand-washing outside of a hospital environment?

I recently spent a weekend visiting a friend out of state and quickly came to realize that he rarely washed his hands. Before eating? No. After the gym? No. Even after going to the bathroom…and not just urination. No washing! I was disgusted and could not convince him of the same. How could an educated …

Where does privacy end and epidemiology begin? How much should we use surveys of what is in sewers and how far up the line should they go?

Question of the day. Where do we draw the line in terms of privacy when sampling sewer systems?  I have had some major concerns about microbiome studies using sewer system samples in the past.  And of course people are trying to use sewer system studies to look at all sorts of other epidemiology related data. …

Fuzzy zeros in percentile normalization method to correct for batch effects

We recently published a method to normalize data that corrects for batch effects and allows for pooling of raw data across studies. In this post, I want to discuss more about the important (but potentially confusing) aspect of our method, where we add noise to the zeros before performing the normalization. I’ve gotten a few …

Microbiome Bioinformatics Postdoctoral Scientist, Colorado State University

The Metcalf lab at Colorado State University is seeking a microbiome bioinformatics postdoctoral scientist. The scientist will analyze multi-omics data sets, including but not limited to: amplicon sequencing data, shotgun metagenomics data, and metabolomics data. Min. reqs. include: Ph.D. in bioinformatics, ecology, microbiology or similar field. Proficient in coding languages (Python preferred). Demonstrated knowledge of …

New paper of interest on Hospital Plumbing and Carbapenem Resistance

New paper of interest:: Genomic Analysis of Hospital Plumbing Reveals Diverse Reservoir of Bacterial Plasmids Conferring Carbapenem Resistance Weingarten RA, Johnson RC, Conlan S, Ramsburg AM, Dekker JP, Lau AF, Khil P, Odom RT, Deming C, Park M, Thomas PJ, NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Henderson DK, Palmore TN, Segre JA, Frank KM. 2018. Genomic analysis …

New paper of potential interest on economic development and the human microbiome

There is a new paper out of possible interest. Source: Stagaman K, Cepon-Robins TJ, Liebert MA, Gildner TE, Urlacher SS, Madimenos FC, Guillemin K, Snodgrass JJ, Sugiyama LS, Bohannan BJM. 2018. Market integration predicts human gut microbiome attributes across a gradient of economic development. mSystems 3:e00122-17. https://doi.org/10.1128/mSystems.00122-17.     Abstract: Economic development is marked by dramatic …

Postdoc Opportunity for Computational Microbial Ecologist in Seattle

  The Gibbons group at the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) is seeking a computationally-oriented Postdoctoral Fellow with interests in microbial ecology, evolution, and human health. The successful applicant will work with an interdisciplinary team of microbiologists, systems biologists, bioinformaticians, and clinical researchers to:  Integrate and analyze multi-omic data from Arivale as part of the …

So you want to run FACS on your microbiome samples…

So you want to run FACS on your microbiome samples… By Cara Pardon Although optimized for eukaryotic cell research, an increasingly common technique used in the microbiome field is Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting (FACS).  From sorting cells for single cell genomics to identifying the host range of a plasmid; from detecting metabolically active cells in …

Yes, gross, but interesting: Human skin flakes lead to bad smell in air-conditioning systems 

OK so this is based on a press release so it should be taken with a grain of salt and such.  But it is interesting, and gross too, and about microbiology of the built environment. Skin squames contribute to ammonia and volatile fatty acid production from bacteria colonizing in air-cooling units with odor complaints Source: …