It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were just an assorted group of interested researchers having a chat, but here we are two years later gaining international support and interest. We greatly appreciate your interest in this group, and are pleased to share some of our recent updates.
We currently have 115 members of the Microbes and Social Equity working group, and another 33 people signed up just for the newsletter. In 2021, we ran a very successful speaker series, virtual symposium, and collectively had quite a few publications, presentations, and developments! We are excited to continue that momentum in 2022, and are planning another speaker series and virtual symposium, finalizing our journal special collection with mSystems, and furthering the collaborative projects we have begun. We will also be adding additional leadership roles for the group, to better accommodate our group and give more attention to our growing activities and initiatives.
- Amber Benezra co-authored a recent article in mSystems, “Chasing Ghosts: Race, Racism, and the Future of Microbiome Research” with Travis DeWolf (U of BC), Mohammed Rafi Arefin (U of BC), and María Rebolleda Gómez (UC Irvine).
- Laura Grieneisen, Mauna Desari, and Jack Gilbert, as well as others, recently co-authored a paper in Science, “Gut microbiome heritability is nearly universal but environmentally contingent”.
- Melissa Manus recently authored a paper in Microbial Ecology, “Ecological Processes and Human Behavior Provide a Framework for Studying the Skin Microbial Metacommunity.” Melissa added: “I recently published a review on the skin microbiome– in short, calling for a dual consideration of ecological theory and human behavior to better understand (and test) how microbes are dispersed to the skin and between body sites. I make a quick plug for thinking about microbes and social equity, too!”
mSystems Special Collections:
We are making great progress adding to our special collection with mSystem, with 3 papers published and several more currently in review! We will continue adding contributions through 2022.
- Introducing the Microbes and Social Equity Working Group: Considering the Microbial Components of Social, Environmental, and Health Justice | mSystems
- Teaching with Microbes: Lessons from Fermentation during a Pandemic | mSystems
- Variation in Microbial Exposure at the Human-Animal Interface and the Implications for Microbiome-Mediated Health Outcome | mSystems
- Francisco Parada’s postdoc, Dr. Ismael Palacios-García finished collecting his probiotic/lifestyle randomized trial, collecting cognitive electrophysiology (EEG+EGG), microbial (DNA from fecal samples), and phenomenological data (questionnaires) over 4+ months. They hope they will be publishing some of these results soon!
- Jake Robinson is working on “Invisible Friends”, a popular science book anticipated for release in 2022. From Jake’s page: “Invisible Friends is about our extraordinary relationship with microbes, and how they shape our lives, our health, and the world around us. The book aims to challenge the prevailing negative perception of microorganisms, by highlighting the weird, wonderful, and indispensable roles they play in our health, behaviour, society, and ecosystems!”
The Microbes and Social Equity speaker series 2022 is under development! We hope to invite speakers for a virtual series running January through April, Wednesdays from 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Registration is required but the series is free to attend.
inVIVO Planetary Health, virtual conference, Dec 1-7, 2021. Register here. Several MSE group members will be giving talks there, such as:
- Sue Ishaq, “Introducing the Microbes and Social Equity Working Group: Considering the Microbial Components of Social, Environmental, and Health Justice”
- Ari Kozik, “The human microbiome and health disparities: restoring dysbiosis as a matter of social justice”
- Jake Robinson, “Microbiome-inspired green infrastructure (MIGI): a bioscience roadmap for urban ecosystem health”
2nd Rhode Island Microbiome Symposium, in person conference, University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI, January 14, 2022. Register here.
- Sue Ishaq, ”Microbes at the nexus of environmental, biological, and social research”
American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Microbe 2022, in person conference, Washington, DC (USA), June 9-13, 2022.
- ‘Field Work & DEI Part 1: Fostering Equitable Partnerships with the Communities in Your Field Work Location’. The session’s date is June 11, 2022 (11:45AM – 12:30PM).
- Ishaq,”Microbes and Social Equity: what is it and how do we do it?”
- MSE special session, “Microbes and Social Equity: the Microbial Components of Social, Environmental, and Health Justice”. The session’s date is June 11, 2022 (1:45PM – 3:45PM), and the event is under development.
- Featuring panelists Monica Trujillo, Ari Kozik, and Carla Bonilla
Mike Friedman hosted a very successful MSE Special Session (together with the Microbial Ecology section) at this year’s virtual Ecological Society of America meeting. Naupaka Zimmerman, Justin Stewart, Monica Trujillo and Sue Ishaq gave short presentations on social justice and various aspects of environmental and human microbiota. But the bulk of the session was taken up by audience discussion of issues in environmental justice and microbes, practical and suggested policies and education.