Eisen Lab in the News



  • December 6, 2015. The bacteria among us. Jeffrey Perkel. Biotechniques.
  • December 4, 2015. Science Insider by Verginia Gewin. On World Soil Day, scientists warn of underground extinction risks.
  • August 7, 2015. Sarah Zhang article in Wired: Airplane Poop Could Help Track Global Disease Outbreaks
    • Meanwhile, analyzing toilet waste for public health is an idea still just floating around. “I’m not surprised that microbes vary between samples and they are related to the country of origin,” says Jonathan Eisen, a microbiologist at the University of California, Davis. “It’s a nice concept, but I’m not overwhelmed by the implications yet.” If scientists could actually link DNA sequences to an outbreak, they’d be onto something. Fortunately, science is commodious when it comes to accepting new ideas. If researchers need to plumb their imaginations for a new approach, well, that’s almost interesting enough (in lieu of actual results). They’re just doing their duty.
  • July 29, 2015.  Carrie Arnold in ScienceCareers on “Countering gender bias at conferences
    • There are a lot of subtle, implicit biases that can happen with regard to conferences.” —Jonathan Eisen
  • June 24, 2015. Alan Levinovitz in NY Mag: The Problem With David Perlmutter, the Grain Brain Doctor.
    • I asked Jonathan Eisen, a microbiome expert at the University of California, Davis, about Brain Maker. “To think we can magically heal diseases by changing to a gluten-free diet and taking some probiotics is idiotic, quite frankly,” he told me. After Eisen read the case study of an autistic boy that Perlmutter highlights in Brain Maker and on his website — “from a scientific perspective, [fecal transplantation for autism] makes absolute sense” — his words were even harsher. “It resembles more the presentation of a snake-oil salesman than that of a person interested in actually figuring out how to help people,” said Eisen.
  • June 8, 2015. Leslie McClurg on Capradio. Cat Fecal Samples Help Scientists Better Understand Health In Cats And Humans.
    • A new UC Davis study will analyze the bacteria in cats in the hopes of better understanding our pets and maybe ourselves. The “Kitty Biome Project” is directed by Jonathan Eisen. He’s a microbial ecology professor at UC Davis. He suspects people and their cats might have more in common than anyone knew.“[There are] hundreds of papers now where people have used the microbial community as a potential diagnostic for gut problems, for cancer, skin problems, behavior, for forensic purposes,” says Eisen. “And the same is true of cats if you want to understand what’s going in the health of your cat it’s really easy to collect a fecal sample from a kitty litter.”Eisen hopes to answer questions like: How do athletic cats compare to couch potato cats. Or, does it matter if you feed your cat a paleo-mouse diet? Or, what happens when your cat takes antibiotics?
  • June 2, 2015. Tim Sangle in the Digital Journal. How well do microbes grow on the ISS?
  • June 2, 2015. Rachel Feltman at the Washington Post. Does treating koala chlamydia hurt their gut microbes?
    • But some researchers are now worried that these powerful drugs are wrecking koalas’ gut microbiotas—in particular the microbes that digest otherwise toxic eucalyptus leaves, koalas’ only food source. “Koalas represent a fascinating case study of a rare extreme in mammals—where we know specific functions of the microbiome that are required for survival,” says Jonathan Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Davis.
  • May 19, 2015. Allie Wilkinson in Nature. Panda guts not suited to digesting bamboo.
  • May 13, 2015. Shoe and phone microbiome paper with Jack Gilbert’s lab
  • May 10, 2015. Kate Allen in the Toronto Star: To be healthy, take care of your microbiome
    • “Eisen called the Sonnenburg’s approach and that of Martin Blaser, an NYU microbiologist who wrote the book Missing Microbes, “reasonably responsible.” He does not feel the same about other books. “Most of them are ridiculous — just completely outlandish claims with no basis in science.”
    • “Eisen took particular exception to claims made by David Perlmutter, author of the microbiome book Brain Maker, calling them “at best horribly misleading.” Brain Maker uses much stronger language than the Sonnenburgs when it comes to the brain-gut link, an area of research that has implications for disorders such as autism; the diet Perlmutter recommends bans gluten and advises lighter legume consumption.”
  • April 27, 2015. Mary Otto on the AHCJ15 session on the microbiome.
  • April 26, 2015. Hot Science: Better Living Through Microbes.
    • “As part of his TED talk, microbiologist Dr. Jonathan Eisen talks about how microbes play a role in our defense, boost our immune system, protect our auto-immune system, fight off stress, and more.”
  • April 23, 2015. Cute Family. And You Should See Their Bacteria. The scientific clan bringing microbe diversity to the dinner table. by John Swansburg in NY Mag.
  • April 23, 2015. Jennifer Howard “To Be a Featured Speaker at a Scholarly Meeting, It Helps to Be Male.”
    • “For instance, Jonathan Eisen, a professor of microbiology at the University of California at Davis, has tracked diversity in STEM fields for several years. His commentary on the issue includes a running list of conferences with poor gender ratios among speakers.”
  • March 3, 2015. Enter the Vaginome: Meet the Microbes that Live in Our Vaginas by AV Flox in Motherboard
  • February 22, 2015. Why Washing Disheas By Hand May Lead to Fewer Allergies by Alexandra Sifferlin in Time Magazine.
  • February 5, 2015. Big Data and Bacteria: Mapping the New York Subway’s DNA by Robert Lee Hotz in the Wall Street Journal.
  • January 30, 2015.  Jonathan Eisen and Jessica Richman on the Microbiome.  By Kevin Bonham at SciAm Blogs.
  • January 15, 2015. Scrubs outside the hospital.


  • December 2014. The Microbes You Eat paper press.
  • December 2014. Buying Citations
  • November 9, 2014. “Is sexism in science at an end?” by Tim Sandle.
  • November 5, 2014. Genetic Literacy Project – Separating Gut Bacteria Hype From Science
  • University of California Davis Professor Jonathan Eisen has a great Ted Talk and blog listing some of the crazy ways the microbiome has been implicated in human health.”
  • November 5, 2014. The Scientist. The End of Science Sexism? By Jef Akst.
    • Not surprisingly, many in the scientific community don’t agree with the authors’ conclusions. One criticism, voiced by the University of California, Davis’s Jonathan Eisen on his The Tree of Life blog, is that “career progression” topics—like salary and promotion—are lumped in with workplace topics—such as hostility and physical aggression against women—and yet, the authors only discuss data relevant to the career progression-related issues. Evidence suggesting relative equality in this area, then, seems to have led to the assumption that “other workplace issues must not be a problem,” Eisen wrote. “[That’s] a dangerous and unsupported connection.”
  • November 2, 2014. The Ideal Microbiome is a Myth by Robbie Gonzalez in io9.
    • For more of this, see UC Davis Biologist Jonathan Eisen’s ongoing “Overselling the Microbiome” award series.






2008 and before

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