Six more rockstar science presentations left in the Microbes and Social Equity speaker series!

The Microbes and Social Equity speaker series has hosted some excellent talks on health, ecosystem health, microbes, social policy, and education. All the talks have been recorded, and are available for free, on demand! You can find the links to each video under each speaker’s profile on the main series page.

Embodied microbiomes: a 4E-cognition perspective on microbial life and social equity 

Dr. Francisco Parada Flores, PhD

March 24, 2021, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register here.

About the speaker: After studying Psychology and Neuroscience in Chile, I moved to the USA to pursue my Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology and Neural Sciences at the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Indiana University-Bloomington. During this period I was able to work on neural signal processing, brain networks, and embodiment within the context of social cognition. After continuing my development through postdoctoral work at the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School I came back to Chile as a tenured professor of Psychology at Universidad Diego Portales (UDP). At UDP I funded the Center for Human Neuroscience & Neuropsychology (CEHNN), a multi-PI research center and day clinic for brain lesion survivors dedicated to the development of the transdisciplinary 4E cognition research program. 

Twitter: @fj_parada

Integrating Equity into Emerging Infectious Disease Research 

Dr. Kishana Taylor, MS, PhD

March 31, 2021, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register here.

About the speaker:  Dr. Kishana Taylor is a virologist and Co-founder and president of the Black Microbiologists Association. Dr. Taylor holds a bachelors degree in animal science, a masters of public health microbiology and emerging infectious disease and a doctorate in interdisciplinary biomedical science.  Dr. Taylor is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University in the lab of Dr. Elizabeth Wayne. Her current NSF funded research focuses on the role of monocytes and macrophages in SARS-CoV2 infection and subsequent development of COVID-19.  Dr. Taylors research interest include arboviruses, zoonotic viruses and their epidemiology, ecology and evolution. 

Twitter: @KYT_ThatsME

About the seminar: Much like previous pandemics, the COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, especially in the U.S., has brought to the forefront pre-existing social and structural inequalities that affect access to quality healthcare and perpetuate viral spread. As we begin to think toward the future and the next inevitable pandemic, it is important to incorporate the lessons learned from this pandemic, and others, in an attempt to mitigate similar patterns of inequity in the future.

Social and ethical implications of human microbiome research.

Dr. Kieran O’Doherty, PhD

April 7, 2021, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register here.

About the speaker: Dr. Kieran C. O’Doherty is professor in the department of psychology at the University of Guelph, where he directs the Discourse, Science, Publics research Group. His research focuses on the social and ethical implications of science and technology. In this context, he has published on such topics as data governance, vaccines, human tissue biobanks, salmon genomics, and genetic testing. A particular emphasis of his research has been on the social and ethical aspects of human microbiome research. Kieran’s research also emphasizes public deliberation on science and technology. In this regard, he has designed and implemented deliberative forums in which members of the public engage in in-depth discussion about ethical aspects of science and technology and collectively develop recommendations for policy. Recent edited volumes include Psychological Studies of Science and Technology (2019) and The Sage Handbook of Applied Social Psychology (2019). Kieran’s research has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Research & Innovation, Genome Canada and Genome British Columbia. He is editor of Theory & Psychology.

Lab website:

Twitter: Personal, @KieranODoherty; Lab, @dsp_lab

About the seminar: There are many social and ethical implications of human microbiome research. In this presentation, I will focus on 3 types of ethical implications. The first type are ethical considerations that should be taken into account when conducting research on the human microbiome. Key points here include issues relating to information privacy, ownership of samples and data, and the rights of Indigenous and other identifiable communities from whom microbiome samples might be obtained. The second type of ethical implications relates to the consequences of specific technologies and applications developed using microbiome science. Examples here include the consequences of strategic engineering of microbes and their use in human and animal populations. The third kind of ethical implications I will discuss relates to problems that are already present, but have only become visible, or perhaps just more obvious, as a result of knowledge generated by human microbiome research. An example here is damage to vaginal microbiomes that is caused by vaginal cleansing products promoted to women to feel “Clean & Fresh.” In this context, I argue that clinical applications of human microbiome science, while valuable, are too narrow when considering the damage that is being done our collective microbiomes as a society and a species. I conclude by reiterating calls for recognition of the microbiome as a common good and the need for stewardship of microbiomes.

Investigating social determinates of health and social equity among a homeless population; a United States-Veteran Microbiome Project  

LTC. Andrew J. Hoisington, Ph.D.

April 14, 2021, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register here.

About the speaker: Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Hoisington is currently an adjunct Associate Professor at the Air Force Institute of Technology as he serves on active duty Air Force rebuilding Tyndall AFB after hurricane Michael. Lt Col Hoisington received his PhD in 2013 from the University of Texas, studying the indoor microbiome. In 2015 he was one of four founding members of the Military and Veterans Microbiome Consortium for Research and Education, an organization to advance microbiome science and education to benefit military personnel, Veterans, and their families. 

Twitter: @MVM_CoRE Website:

About the seminar: In 2019, over half a million people in the United States did not have a place to call home. Research suggests that homeless individuals have higher rates of diet deficiencies, physical and mental health disorders (e.g., infectious diseases, depression), and inadequate health care when compared to those who are stably housed. From a social equity perspective, risk for homelessness is impacted by a range of social determinants including socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity. Here we present the results 16S rRNA and metagenomics analysis from a US Military Veterans who are currently or were previously homeless. To the best of our knowledge, these preliminary results are the first known study of the microbiome among those with a history of homelessness and will likely contribute to a better understanding of interactions among social determinates of health, social equity, the human microbiome, and human health. 

Physiological Implications of Pre-Existing Inflammatory Co-Morbidities when the Body is Introduced to Novel Infectious Processes   

Dr. Deborah Saber, PhD, RN, CCRN-K

April 21, 2021, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register here.

About the speaker: Dr. Saber is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Maine where she teaches pathophysiological and critical care concepts to upper-level undergraduate nursing students. She also holds a joint position at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center where she directs the program development for nursing research and evidence-based practice. As a practicing intensive care registered nurse (RN) with over 25 years of patient care nursing experience, she has cared for patients infected with multidrug-resistant organisms (e.g., methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), multidrug-resistant tuberculosis) and diseases from outbreaks that include human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and H1N1. Dr. Saber’s research focuses on microbial movement in the healthcare setting as this relates to the use personal protective equipment (PPE) and resulting solid waste.

About the seminar: This seminar will focus on findings from the literature that emphasize the vulnerability of populations with preexisting health conditions that impact their ability to defend against infectious diseases. We will discuss common co-morbid conditions, the role of the inflammatory processes in infectious processes, and how social inequity can predispose vulnerable populations to novel infectious processes.

Missing Microbes and Missing Out: microbes and social equity in the context of youth in detention.  

Dr. Ally Hunter, PhD. and Christina Bosch, M.A., M.Ed.

April 28, 2021, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register here.

Ally Hunter, PhD Science Education, MS Biology (Micro & Molecular)
Postdoctoral Fellow
Center for Youth Engagement
NSF Project RAISE (Reclaiming Access to Inquiry Science Education for Incarcerated Learners)
NSF Project INSITE (INtegrating STEM Into Transition Education for Incarcerated Youth)
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Christina Anderson Bosch
Doctoral Candidate at University of Massachusetts, Amherst 
M.A., Special Education: Learning Disabilities
M. Ed., Mind, Brain and Education
NSF Project RAISE (Reclaiming Access to Inquiry Science Education for Incarcerated Learners)

About the seminar: In the US, incarcerated youth are a population that are vulnerable to a variety of poor outcomes that include disrupted or incomplete education, unemployment, homelessness, health disparities, and incarceration as adults.  Through the lens of microbiome health we can envision additional poor outcomes for incarcerated youth: loss of access to nutrition and diet education, loss of access to diets that support microbiome health, loss of access to beneficial microbes, and over-exposure to harmful microbes.  

This presentation will discuss the potential for microbial inequity for incarcerate youth and highlight current educational responses that could serve to mitigate some of these disparities.

Using our experiences as educational researchers and curriculum developers on STEM education initiatives for incarcerated youth, we will present background information on this particularly vulnerable population.  We will discuss our work on developing biology curriculum for juvenile justice settings and where we see a need for further development of microbiology, nutrition and basic health curriculum.  Then, we will facilitate a group discussion to engage the scientific community with this understudied and underserved population in the context of microbial inequity.

Leave a Reply