Quick update (pics, twitter feed) on #IndoorAir2011 in Austin, TX #microBEnet

Here are some pics from my trip to the Indoor Air 2011 meeting. I am going to post more detail about the meeting later.


If you want some information about what happened at the meeting, best place right now is probably twitter

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Also see the microBEnet blog which has some recent posts on this.

Off to #IndoorAir 2011 in Austin, TX – to discuss and promote http://microbe.net #microBEnet

Well, off to Austin for a meeting I would not have imagined going to a few years ago. Indoor Air 2011. Why am I going? Because a few years ago I began to discuss studying the microbiology of the built environment with Paula Olsiewski, from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. You see, the Sloan Foundation has a new program in this area “The Indoor Environment“. Eventually, after much discussion I applied for a grant in their program. My grant is a bit unusual (for me and for others probably) in that it focuses on communication, coordination, networking, collaboration, etc.
My project is called “microBEnet” – which stands for “microbiology of the Built Environment network”. The BE is purposefully capitalized to emphasize the Built Environment part and we figure, since microbes are small, the m should be lower case. For more on the project see: Microbiology of the Built Environment Network | Site for the microBEnet project. As part of this project, a collaborator (Hal Levin) and I are doing many activities and I will post more about them over time. Among our activities are a new blog, and a diversity of resources.

Which brings me to Indoor Air 2011.  We are also starting to organize or help organize some meetings and workshops to bring together the various folks who might be interested in microbiology of the built environment.  And for Indoor Air we have helped the meeting organizer Rich Corsi plan some sessions on microbiology of the built environment.  The sessions take place Wednesday and Thursday and should be great.   Looking forward to going to Austin, maybe seeing some friends at UT and nearby (hint hint Dr. Hillis, Sheril K, etc) and learning about the built environment.

Norman R. Pace visit to #UCDavis; discussing microbiology of the built environment #microBEnet

Norman R. Pace, from UC Boulder, gave a talk at UC Davis last week about microbial diversity.  In his talk he discussed some of his recent Sloan Foundation funded work on “microbiology of the built environment” including studies of shower heads, indoor swimming pools, water supplies, and hospitals.

Pace is one of the pioneers of DNA based studies of microbes in the environment.  His initial work on studies of ribosomal RNA from uncultured organisms (started more than 20 years ago) helped launch the field.  For more information on his work see his lab page here

If you are interested in the microbes that are found in showerheads, his PNAS paper on this (which can be found here) on this from 2 years ago got a lot of press.  See for example this Science Friday
and this New York Times article by Nicholas Wade.

Pace was at UC Davis as part of the Storer Major Issues in Modern Biology Lecture Series.

I note, I have written about Pace before a few times including this:
Here’s hoping molecular classification/systematics of cultured & uncultured microbes wins #NobelPrize in medicine

I note we have a new project as part of this Sloan program to facilitate communication and networking and sharing information as part of this project.  My lab is creating something called “microBEnet” – the microbiology of the built environment network.  We are just getting our real site up and running.  For now you can find out some information at a temporary page http://microbenet.blogspot.com/

Indoor Air 2011; Austin, Tx; June 5-10 #microBEnet

Just thought I would give people the heads up – I am helping plan a session on “Microbiology of the Indoor Environment” that will happen at the “Indoor Air 2011” meeting in Austin, TX June 5-10 2011.  The conference itself covers an enormous amount of ground about, well, Indoor Air.  And I am helping the meeting organizer Rich Corsi plan a special session that will try to bring together (1) researchers working on culture-independent studies of the microbes in the indoor environment with (2) scientists and engineers and others who work on the indoor environment.  Will post more about this special session as details come out.  But thought I would give people a heads up …

I note, this is a component of the Sloan Foundation’s New program in Indoor Microbiology – I have received a grant from them to create something called microBEnet (“microbiology of the Built Environment network”).  In this microBEnet project we will be working to foster communication, collaboration, research and other related activities for the Sloan Program.  More coming on microBEnet soon but if you want a little taste (a very preliminary taste) – see our blog here.