Speaker lineup confirmed for ‘Session 3: Transforming your research for policy engagement’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

The speaker lineup is set for the third day of the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, which is focused on “Transforming your research for policy engagement”. This session will feature three talks featuring researchers who have experience bringing research to the public and to legislative bodies. So often, the positive outcomes of research are limited because it can be difficult to get the word out to people who can put our results into practice. Our hope is that attendees for this session learn from different perspectives how to write their research to inform the general public, professionals in healthcare, or policy makers.

The program for the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, “Developing transformative Research Skills”, is beginning to take shape as we continue to confirm speakers for the 5 sessions, the full program for which can be found here.


Session 3: “Transforming your research for policy engagement”

Wednesday, July 20th, 12:30 ~ 16:00 EST. Register for this session, it’s free and will be held over Zoom.

Section leaders:

Mallory Choudoir, Ph.D. Soil microbial ecologist. Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Massachusetts Amherst. Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist at North Carolina State University September 2022. 

Mustafa Saifuddin, Ph.D., Staff Scientist, Sustainable Food and Farming Program at Earthjustice

Mustafa Saifuddin, Ph.D., Staff Scientist, Sustainable Food and Farming Program at Earthjustice

Amali Stephens, PhD Student, Interdepartmental Microbiology, Iowa State University

Scope: Microbiomes drive processes in all environments and are intimately intertwined with all aspects of our lives. Despite the central role of microbes in shaping systems, microbial researchers are often detached from shaping policies related to conservation, public health, land use, environmental justice, climate and other areas of intersection. Policy engagement is not typically included in the academic training of microbiome researchers, and there is a need for greater coordination between policy needs and microbial research. This session will explore integrated, collaborative approaches to research and policy making.

Learning Objectives of Session: Attendees will discuss 1) how to develop research in collaboration with policy needs, 2) policy levels and types (government, private), 3) how to identify stakeholders, and 4) how to communicate your research to policymakers.

Format of talks:  Three 30-min lecture-style talks will describe interdisciplinary research outcomes which transcend typical academic endpoints and engage in shaping policy.

Format of breakout rooms: Each room will create a policy brief outline or ideas list around a particular topic area (e.g. environmental restoration) to help audience members group by discipline.

Session Speakers: In development, details provided soon!

Dr. Caitlyn Hall, PhD., Assistant Professor of Practice, University of Arizona

Dr. Kathleen Treseder, PhD., Howard A. Schneiderman Endowed Chair and Professor of Biology at the University of California Irvine; Climate Activist; Irvine City Council Candidate

Dr. Sonja Birthisel, Ph.D., Director, The Wilson Center at the University of Maine; Councilor, Orono Maine Town Council; Faculty Associate, University of Maine School of Forest Resources

“Public Policy Engagement & Personal Sustainability: What’s Your “Sparkle Zone”?”

12:30 – 14:15 Introduction and Speakers

14:15 – 14:30 Break

14:30 – 16:00 Breakout room discussions based on skills development, in smaller groups

  • How to talk to your politicians about science
  • How scientists get involved with policy
  • Environmental microbial policy issues
  • Microbial conservation
  • Soil carbon & climate justice issues
  • Agricultural antibiotic use
  • Microbial exposures (residential, worker exposure)

Prior to this session, you may want to watch these recorded talks:

Speaker lineup confirmed for ‘Session 2: Blending biological, social, and humanities writing’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

The speaker lineup is set for the second day of the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, which is focused on “Blending biological, social, and humanities writing”. This session will feature one talk and one panel discussion, featuring researchers who have published, reviewed, and edited interdisciplinary writing and appreciate the difficulty that many microbiome researchers face: getting their work published when it does not fit a typical experimental layout. Our hope is that attendees for this session learn from different perspectives how to write across disciplines, find the right journal and pitch the relevancy of their manuscript to the journal’s scope, how to find reviewers with disparate professional backgrounds (for example microbiology and legal policy), and more.

The program for the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, “Developing transformative Research Skills”, is beginning to take shape as we continue to confirm speakers for the 5 sessions, the full program for which can be found here.


Session 2: “Blending biological, social, and humanities writing”

Tuesday, July 19th, 12:30 ~ 16:00 EST. Register for this session, which is free and will be held over Zoom

Session leaders:

Ashley Toney, PhD

Ashley M. Toney, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UTHealth School of Public Health, El Paso. Translational/Clinical Nutrition Researcher focused on Latine Health Disparities.

Dr. Kieran O'Doherty.

Kieran C. O’Doherty, PhD., Professor of Psychology, University of Guelph, and Director of the Discourse, Science, Publics research Group

Emily Wissel, Ph.D. candidate, Emory University. MSE Director of Resource Dissemination

Scope: Interdisciplinary experimental designs have been called for in research, but finding a publication venue can be tricky when manuscripts or presentations are deemed not discipline-specific, or are labeled opinion instead of research. This session will explore common gatekeeping problems of interdisciplinary research, cross-disciplinary writing categorization discussions (i.e. theoretical framing, etc.), and writing strategies and publication venues to make the most of your work.

Learning Objectives of Session: Attendees will become familiar with different expectations within research design/publishing across fields, and learn about tangible suggestions from research publishers. Audience members should walk away with more confidence in interdisciplinary publishing.

Format of talks: This will feature a 30-min plenary topic to introduce the concept that theory in psychology/philosophy is regarded as opinion in the natural sciences, followed by 1 hour of a panel of research journal editors to discuss flexible publication guidelines.

Format of breakout rooms: Each room creates a document, and each room has a designated topic area (e.g. environmental restoration) to help audience members group by discipline

Session Speaker:

Dr. Mark Risjord, PhD. Professor of Philosophy, Emory University

“Crossing boundaries, building bridges: some reflections on interdisciplinary writing.”

After which, the Speaker will be joined by additional Panelists to discuss interdisciplinary research, challenges, and opportunities.

Dr. Susan L. Prescott, MD, PhD, FRACP. President, inVIVO Planetary Health @ the Nova Institute for Health, Baltimore, USA; Director, ORIGINS PROJECT Telethon Kids Institute; Professor of Paediatrics, UWA Medical School; Paediatric Immunologist, Perth Children’s Hospital; Editor in ChiefChallenges journal.

Dr. James Stegen

Dr. James Stegen, PhD., Physical & Computational Sciences Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Dr. Michela Gambino, professional headshot

Dr. Michela Gambino, PhD. Assistant Professor at the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen; mSystems editor

12:30 – 14:15 Introduction, Speaker, and Panel discussion

14:15 – 14:30 Break

14:30 – 16:00 Breakout room discussions based on skills development, in smaller groups

  • Pitching your paper to the right journal 
  • Finding and directing reviewers
  • “Ask a philosopher!”
  • TBD

Prior to this session, you may want to watch these recorded talks:


Speaker lineup confirmed for ‘Session 5: MSE Education Practices and Curriculum Design’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

The speaker lineup is set for the fifth (and final) day of the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, which is focused on “MSE Education Practices and Curriculum Design”. This session will feature three talks featuring educators who have brought sociology into their microbiome courses, and vice versa, and who have experience creating out-of-the-box curricula to engage students in learning while helping them to see themselves as scientists. Our hope is that attendees for this session learn from different perspectives how to creatively present microbiology courses which situate learning about the microbiome with learning about social and environmental systems.

The program for the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, “Developing transformative Research Skills”, is beginning to take shape as we continue to confirm speakers for the 5 sessions, the full program for which can be found here.

Session 5: “MSE Education Practices and Curriculum Design”

Friday, July 22nd, 12:30 ~ 16:00 EST. Register for this session, free and held over Zoom.

Session leaders:

Erin Eggleston, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology, Middlebury College.

Monica Trujillo

Monica Trujillo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, of Biology Queensborough Community College, The City University of New York

Carla Bonilla, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of San Diego

Scope: Curriculum which blends disciplines is highly engaging, and can be used to teach complex concepts, and can help students combine their existing cultural and social identities with their growing researcher identity. However, creating an interdisciplinary curriculum can be challenging. This session frames educational conversations in MSE, and gives perspectives on creating courses that blend microbiome and social sciences for different levels of education.

Learning Objectives of Session: Attendees will 1) identify successes and barriers to entry for MSE curriculum at different education levels (K-12, UG, grad, general public), 2) Share ways in which we incorporate MSE in our curricula (i.e. assignments, class period, multi-day module, full course, etc.); 3) develop ideas for further curriculum design for their own courses.

Format of talks: Three 30-min lecture-style talks from education practitioners who have successfully built courses around MSE topics, including an outline of learning goals, approach to course, lessons learned/challenges, and more.

Format of breakout rooms: Each room creates a lesson plan outline, and each room has a designated topic area (e.g. human microbiome equity) to help audience members group by teaching discipline.

Session Speakers: In development, details provided soon!

Sarah Miller, M.S., Executive Director of Tiny Earth at University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Title TBD”

Dr. Melissa Zwick

Dr. Ally Hunter, PhD., Lecturer, iCONS Program & Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Youth Engagement, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Part of NSF Project RAISE (Reclaiming Access to Inquiry Science Education for Incarcerated Learners), and NSF Project INSITE (INtegrating STEM Into Transition Education for Incarcerated Youth).

Dr. Melissa Zwick, PhD., Associate Professor of Biology, Stockton University

“Science through storytelling: Using case study pedagogy as inclusive practice in undergraduate microbiology”

Dr. Davida Smyth, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Molecular Microbiology at Texas A&M University in San Antonio

“Title TBD”

12:30 – 14:15 Introduction and Speakers

14:15 – 14:30 Break

14:30 – 16:00 Breakout room discussions based on skills development, in smaller groups

  • Undergraduate microbiology courses resources/MSE integration
  • Pedagogy as scholarship/publishing mechanisms/resources
  • Assessing case study style teaching
  • TBD

Prior to this session, you may want to watch these recorded talks:


Speaker lineup confirmed for ‘Session 1: Context-aware experimental designs’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

The speaker lineup is set for the first day of the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, which is focused on “Context-aware experimental designs”. The three talks, featuring a total of 5 researchers, will present perspectives on the human microbiome and studying it within broader contexts to better understand our interactions with microbes. Our hope is that attendees for this session learn from different perspectives how to more creatively design or analyze their research to account for the effects that social policy and local environment can have on microbial exposures.

The program for the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, “Developing transformative Research Skills”, is beginning to take shape as we continue to confirm speakers for the 5 sessions, the full program for which can be found here.

Session 1: “Context-aware experimental designs”

Monday, July 18th, 12:30 ~ 16:00 EST. Register for this session.

Session leaders:

Dr. Ariangela Kozik, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Michigan, and the Co-founder and Vice President of the Black Microbiologists Association

Sue Ishaq

Dr. Sue Ishaq, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at University of Maine and Founder of the Microbes and Social Equity working group.

Scope: Microbiome research often uses broad categorical factors as proxy factors for complex social or environmental contexts, but these can ignore or obscure underlying trends. This session will unpack proxy terms like race, Western diet, dysbiosis, rural/urban, and more, to differentiate what variables we actually want to measure and how to accomplish this in data collection and analysis. This session will also discuss how to communicate microbiome results in relation to broader contexts of lived experiences, rather than attributing results to broad proxy categories.

Learning Objectives of Session: Attendees will learn 1) the process of identifying more precise and appropriate measurement variables when engaging in human-adjacent microbiome research, instead of using proxy factors, 2) how to include more resolution to factorial data during collection, and 3) examples of how to process complex social data during microbiome data analysis.

Format of talks: Three 30-min lecture-style talks will disambiguate proxy categorizations into more precise variables that consider social contexts, approach to course, lessons learned/challenges.

Format of breakout rooms: Each room creates a concept map which disambiguates a proxy category into specific variables, and discusses how to frame surrey questions or leverage existing data to obtain this information. Each room has a designated topic area (e.g. environmental restoration) to help audience members group by discipline or type of information they are looking for.

Session Speakers:

Dr. Elizabeth Roberts

Dr. Elizabeth F.S. Roberts, PhD., Professor of Anthropology, University of Michigan

Making better numbers through bioethnography

“Proposal of Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status Based Analysis of Human Microbiome Project”

Dr. Katherine Maki, PhD., Assistant Clinical Investigator, Translational Biobehavioral and Health Disparities Branch, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center

Dr. Nicole M. Farmer, M.D., Principal Investigator, Translational Biobehavioral and Health Disparities Branch, NIH Clinical Center

Dr. Kelly K. Jones, Ph.D., RN, Research Fellow, Neighborhoods and Health Lab, Division of Intramural Research, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Osama Tanous, M.D., Palestinian pediatrician based in Haifa and a board member of Physicians for Human Rights – Israel; Visiting Scientist, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University; Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow of Public Health and Health Policies, Emory University. His recent publication can be found here.

“From bedside to the journal – understanding bacteria in a settler colonial setting”

12:30 – 14:15 Introduction and Speakers

14:15 – 14:30 Break

14:30 – 16:00 Breakout room discussions based on skills development, in smaller groups

  1. Deconstructing race as a biological variable
  2. Common pitfalls/challenges to experimental design 
  3. Matching clinical work to social contexts.
  4. Bioethnography to generate hypotheses
  5. Planning for variables in microbiome and social research
  6. Combining microbiome and social data analysis
  7. TBD

Prior to this session, you may want to watch these recorded talks:


Featured image from Robinson et al. 2022.

Ishaq Lab and MSE at ASM Microbe 2022 conference

Ishaq Lab posters

Initial Descriptions of the Microbes of Farmed Atlantic Sea Scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) Veligers and Rearing Tanks. S. Hosler, E. Grey, A. Dankwa, J. Perry, T. Bowden, B. Beal, S. Ishaq. Poster Session AES10 – Marine Microbiology, June 10, 2022, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Exhibit and Poster Hall. Presenter available during Poster Presentation 1 (10:30 am – 11:30 am) and Poster Presentation 2 (4 pm – 5 pm) at their assigned poster board.

Prevention of Inflammatory Bowel Disease by Broccoli Sourced and Microbially Produced Bioactives
J. M. Holman, S. Ishaq, Y. Li, T. Zhang, G. Mawe, L. Colucci, J. Balkan. Exhibit and Poster Hall. Poster session HMB06 Microbiome-Host Interactions III. June 12, 2022, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Presenter available during Poster Presentation 1 (10:30 am – 12:30 pm).

The Microbes and Social Equity working group is hosting a special session

CTS16 (PPS). Microbes and Social Equity: the Microbial Components of Social, Environmental, and Health Justice

June 11, 2022, 1:45 PM – 3:45 PM, Room 206

Microorganisms are critical to many aspects of biological life, including human health. The collective microbial community, our microbiome, can be impacted by the details of our lifestyle, including diet, hygiene, health status, and more, but many are driven by social, economic, medical, or political constraints that restrict available choices that may impact our health. Access to resources is the basis for creating and resolving social equity, access to healthcare, healthy foods, a suitable living environment, and to beneficial microorganisms, but also access to personal and occupational protection to avoid exposure to infectious disease. This special session explores the way that microbes connect public policy, social disparities, and human health, as well as the ongoing research, education, policy, and innovation in this field.

5 Presentations

1:45 PM – 3:45 PMMicrobes and Social Equity: the Microbial Components of Social, Environmental, and Health Justice
Suzanne Ishaq; Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME
1:45 PM – 2:15 PMInvited Speaker
Monica Trujillo; Queensborough Community Coll., New York, NY
2:15 PM – 2:45 PMInvited Speaker
Ariangela Kozik; Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
2:45 PM – 3:15 PMInvited Speaker
Carla Bonilla; Gonzaga Univ., Spokane, WA
3:15 PM – 3:45 PMPanel Discussion

Upon completion of this Cross-Track Symposium, the participant should be able to:

  • Recognize the connections that microbiomes have to social equity. This will be demonstrated with examples/case studies presented by speakers.
  • Discuss relevant issues in microbiomes and their connection to social equity and identify issues which could be explored further.
  • Appraise your own work for these connections between microbiomes and social equity, to designate places for professional growth and applying equitable design.

After this session, MSE will be having an informal meet up, as most of us have never met in person!

Presentations and posters from some of our Microbes and Social Equity group members

Please note, the presenters’ names are bolded, and this is not to denote which author is part of MSE. We have included these in order to cross-promote talks, but these presentations may be independent of members’ MSE activities. This is a non-exhaustive list.

In-depth Symposium. EEB05. Interacting Stressor Effects on Microbial-Climate Change Feedbacks
June 10, 2022, 8:15 AM – 10:15 AM, room 144ABC, Convener, Adriana Romero-Olivares
 
8:15 AM – 8:45 AM
Fungal responses to drought and disturbance in a desert ecosystem and potential feedbacks to climate change, Adriana Romero-Olivares

9:30 AM – 9:45 AM
Soil Bacteria Adapt to a Warming World, K. M. DeAngelis, A. Narayanan, A. Eng, M. Choudoir
Benchmarking Software to Predict Antibiotic Resistance Phenotypes in Shotgun Metagenomes Using Simulated Data.
E. F. Wissel, B. M. Talbot, B. Johnson, R. Petit, III, V. Hertzberg, A. Dunlop, T. Read. SESSION Rapid Fire. S102. Rapid Fire: Omics and Machine Learning on the Fight against AMR. June 10, 2022, 8:15 AM – 9:05 AM/ Lounge and Learn 1.
A Model within a Model: Using Cheese Microbiomes to Investigate Host-Phage Interactions within a Community. T. Spencer, A. Sarabia, G. Heussler, S. Villareal, R. Dutton. Session HMB07 Phage-Host Interactions. June 10, 2022, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Exhibit and Poster Hall.
Peril And Healthy Trichosporon Asahii: The Similar Capability To Adhere And Form Biofilms. S. H.S, S. Mandya Rudramurthy, N. Nayak. Poster. CPHM06 Diagnostic Mycology. June 10, 2022, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Exhibit and Poster Hall
Dispersal Limitation and Density-Dependent Processes Structure Streptomyces Populations at Small Spatial Scales. J. Hariharan, D. Buckley. Rapid Fire. S107. Rapid Fire: Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity. June 11, 2022, 8:15 – 9:05 AM. Lounge and Learn 2.
Comparison of Antibiotic Resistance in Biofilm, Sediment, and Planktonic Communities in an Urbanized River. M. B. Coughter, R. Franklin. Session AES03 – Antimicrobial Resistance in the Environment 2.  June 11, 2022, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM  Exhibit and Poster Hall
Microbes and Social Equity: what is it and how do we do it?.
S. Ishaq. Session AES018 – Field Work & DEI: Fostering Equitable Partnerships with the Communities in Your Field. June 11, 2022, 11:45 AM – 12:30 PM. AES Track Hub, located in the Exhibit Hall.
Panel discussion: Encouraging culture change for open data
Pajau Vangay. Session ASM Town Hall Title: Advancing collaborative research with the National Microbiome Data Collaborative. Panel discussion: Encouraging culture change for open data.  June 11, 2022, 11:15 AM – 11:30 AM.  202AB
Antibiotic Resistance at the Human-Animal Interface in Southeast Asia.
M. Nadimpalli, M. Stegger, R. Viau, V. Yith, A. de Lauzanne, N. Sem, L. Borand, B-t. Huynh, S. Brisse, V. Passet, S. Overballe-Petersen, M. Aziz, M. Gouali, J. Jacobs, T. Phe, B. Hungate, V. Leshyk, A. J. Pickering, F. Gravey, C. M. Liu, T. J. Johnson, S. Le Hello, L. B. Price. SESSION Poster. EEB01 – Ecology of host-associated microbiomes. June 12, 2022, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Exhibit and Poster Hall. Presenter available during Poster Presentation 1 (10:30 am – 12:30 pm).

Presentations galore in 2022!

I have had the pleasure of sharing my work, both Ishaq lab led and collaborative, to many venues thus far in 2022, and I am grateful to the invitations I received even though I was not able to accept all of them. These have ranged from seminar series, to student groups, to scientific conferences. Some of these events have already passed, but several are forthcoming and available by registration.

  1. Ishaq* S. Microbes and Social Equity: what is it and how do we do it? Part of Track Hub: ‘Field Work & DEI Part 1: Fostering Equitable Partnerships with the Communities in Your Field Work Location’. American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Microbe 2022, Washington, DC (USA), June 9-13, 2022. (invited)
  2. Hosler2*, S., Grey, E., Dankwa, A., Perry, J., Bowden, T., Beal, B., Ishaq, S. Initial descriptions of  the microbes of farmed Atlantic sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) veligers and rearing tanks. American Society for Microbiology Microbe 2022 meeting. Washington, D.C.. June 9-13, 2022.
  3. Hosler2*, S., Grey, E., Ishaq, S. Comparing the microbiome of wild and farmed Atlantic sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) veligers. Northeast Aquaculture Conference & Exposition (NACE) and the 41st Milford Aquaculture Seminar (MAS). Portland, Maine. POSTPONED to April 27-28, 2022
  4. Ishaq*, S., Li, Y., Holman2, J., Zhang, T., Chen, G. “Biogeography may be key to microbial anti inflammatory production using dietary precursors.” Maine Biological and Medical Sciences Symposium, Bar Harbor, ME, April 22-23, 2022. (invited)
  5. Holcomb2*, L., Coffman, J., Harrison, B., Tucker, K., Ishaq, S.L. Abstract 1080. An Overview of Three Biomedical Science Projects across Three Research Institutes. UMaine Student Research Symposium (virtual). Apr 15, 2022.
  6. Pelletier1*, M., Taylor, T., Ishaq, S. Abstract 830. Assessing the Veterinary Needs of Rural Maine and Implementing an Effective Management Plan. UMaine Student Research Symposium (virtual). Apr 15, 2022
  7. French1*, R., and Ishaq, S. Abstract 402. Climate Change Affects Wild Mammal Ranges and Health; Will That Also Affect Infectious Disease Exposure Risk at Maine Farms? UMaine Student Research Symposium (virtual). Apr 15, 2022.
  8. Ishaq, S. “Microbes at the nexus of environmental, biological, and social research.” Iowa State University Spring Microbiology Graduate Student Organization retreat. (virtual). April 14, 2022 (invited co-plenary).
    1. see poster below
  9. Ishaq*, S., Li, Y., Holman2, J., Zhang, T., Mawe, G., Hurd, M., Lavoie, B. Baudewyns1, D., Colucci1, L., Balkan1, J., Chen, G, Moses, P. “Biogeography may be key to microbial anti inflammatory production using dietary precursors.”  Congress of Gastrointestinal Function (CGIF), April 11 – 13, 2022.
  10. “My science journey”, invited presentation and discussion of my career path to undergraduate women in STEM, UMaine WiSTEMM group, March 28, 2021
  11. Ishaq, S. “Moose rumen microbes and you.” The Wildlife Society Nutritional Ecology Working Group Webinar series, (virtual), March 9, 2022.
  12. Ishaq*, S., Li, Y., Holman2, J., Zhang, T., Mawe, G., Hurd, M., Lavoie, B. Baudewyns1, D., Colucci1, L., Balkan1, J., Chen, G, Moses, P. “Biogeography may be key to microbial anti inflammatory production using dietary precursors.”  Dartmouth Molecular Microbiology and Pathogenesis (M2P2), February 24 – 25, 2022. (invited)
    • 120 students and faculty researchers.
  13. Ishaq, S. “Microbes at the nexus of environmental, biological, and social research” The Microbes and Social Equity 2022 speaker series, virtual, University of Maine and the Microbes and Social Equity working group. January 19, 2022.
    1. 67 participants, 131 registrants, faculty, students, public
  14. Ishaq, S. ​”Microbes at the nexus of environmental, biological, and social research.” 2nd Rhode Island Microbiome Symposium, virtual, University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI, January 14, 2022. (invited plenary)
    • 50 participants, researchers and graduate students
  15. Booker, Y., Ishaq, S., Levesque*, D.L. “The role of the microbiome in responses to heat stress in endotherms.” The Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) annual meeting. Phoenix, AZ. January 3-7, 2022.

Note: an asterisk denotes the speaker if multiple authors contributed, 1 after a name denotes undergrad in the Ishaq lab, 2 after a name denotes grad in the Ishaq Lab.

Registration open for Microbes and Social Equity speaker series, Jan 19 – April 27

Registration is now open for the Microbes and Social Equity speaker series, which is in its second year this spring. Hurry, the first seminar is on Wednesday, Jan 19th!

The seminars are free and open for anyone to attend, but require registration to Zoom for each of the talks. You can find the full speaker list and registration links to all the talks on the 2022 series page, which will update as we confirm additional speakers.

Microorganisms are critical to many aspects of biological life, including human health.  The human body is a veritable universe for microorganisms: some pass through but once, some are frequent tourists, and some spend their entire existence in the confines of our body tissues.  The collective microbial community, our microbiome, can be impacted by the details of our lifestyle, including diet, hygiene, health status, and more, but many are driven by social, economic, medical, or political constraints that restrict available choices that may impact our health.   

Access to resources is the basis for creating and resolving social equity—access to healthcare, healthy foods, a suitable living environment, and to beneficial microorganisms, but also access to personal and occupational protection to avoid exposure to infectious disease. This speaker series explores the way that microbes connect public policy, social disparities, and human health, as well as the ongoing research, education, policy, and innovation in this field. 

“The Microbes and Social Equity Speaker Series 2022”

Spring 2022; Jan 19 – Apr 27, Wednesdays at 12:00 – 13:00 EST

Presented over Zoom. Registration is free, and required for each seminar.

Hosting Organization: MSE and the University of Maine Institute of Medicine


“Microbes at the nexus of environmental, biological, and social research”

Dr. Sue Ishaq, PhD

January 19, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk

Sue Ishaq, photo courtesy of Patrick Wine, 2021.

About the speaker: Dr. Sue Ishaq is an Assistant Professor of Animal and Veterinary Science at the University of Maine, in the School of Food and Agriculture. She received her doctorate in Animal, Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Vermont in 2015 where her graduate study focused on the rumen microbiology of the moose.  She held post-doctoral positions at Montana State University, and a research faculty position at the University of Oregon.  Since 2019, her lab in Maine focuses on host-associated microbial communities in animals and humans, and in particular, how host and microbes interact in the gut. In addition to her research on gut microbes, Dr. Ishaq is the founder of the Microbes and Social Equity working group.  This group formed to examine, publicize and promote a research program on the reciprocal impact of social inequality and microbiomes, both human and environmental.


“The Human Microbiome and Health Inequities”

Dr. Katherine (Katie) Amato, PhD

January 26, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

Dr. Katie Amato. Photo borrowed from Northwestern University.
Dr. Katie Amato. Photo borrowed from Northwestern University

About the speaker: Dr. Katherine (Katie) Amato is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University. From her faculty profile page: “Katie Amato is a biological anthropologist studying the gut microbiota in the broad context of host ecology and evolution. She is particularly interested in understanding how changes in the gut microbiota impact human nutrition and health in populations around the world, especially those with limited access to nutritional resources.”

Faculty profile page.

Talk summary: The talk explores how the microbiome is likely to be a mediating pathway that translates disparities in people’s environments to disparities in health outcomes. It outlines the current state of the literature in this area and broadly suggests ways to move forward. Dr. Amato’s recent publication on this topic can be found here.


Title TBD

Dr. Liat Shenhav, PhD

February 16, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

Dr. Liat Shenhav. Photo borrowed from Twitter page.
Dr. Liat Shenhav. Photo borrowed from Twitter page.

About the speaker: Dr. Liat Shenhav is an Independent Research Fellow at The Rockefeller University

Institutional profile page.


“20 important questions in microbial exposure and social equity + recent work on urban greenspace microbiomes”

Dr. Jake Robinson, PhD

Feb 23rd, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

A black and white portrait of Dr. Jake Robinson, who is wearing a black shirt and light sportscoat over it. Jake is outside in front of some bushes.
Dr. Jake Robinson

About the speaker: Dr. Jake Robinson is an ecologist and researcher. He recently completed a PhD at the University of Sheffield, UK. His academic interests lie at the intersection of microbial ecology, ecosystem restoration and social research. He will soon be publishing a book called Invisible Friends, which is all about our extraordinary relationship with microbes, and how they shape our lives and the world around us. 

Professional page.


Title TBD

Dr. Douglas Call, PhD

March 30, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

About the speaker: Dr. Douglas Call is a Regents Professor at the Paul G. Allen School for Global Health, in Molecular Epidemiology, and the Associate Director for Research and Graduate Education, at Washington State University.

Faculty profile page.


“Decomposition as Life Politics” 

Dr. Kristina Lyons, PhD

April 6, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

Dr. Kristina Lyons. Photo reused from the University of Pennsylvania faculty page.
Dr. Kristina Lyons. Photo reused from the University of Pennsylvania faculty page.

About the speaker: Dr. Kristina Lyons is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and with the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds affiliations with the Center for Experimental Ethnography and the Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies. Kristina’s current research is situated at the interfaces of socio-ecological conflicts, science, and legal studies in Colombia and Latin America. Her manuscript, Vital Decomposition: Soil Practitioners and Life Politics (Duke 2020), was awarded honorable mention by the Bryce Wood Book Award committee from the Latin American Studies Association. She has also collaborated on the creation of soundscapes, street performances, photographic essays, graphic novels, popular education audiovisual projects, community radio programs, digital storytelling platforms, and various forms of literary writing.

Professional page.

Talk summary: How does attention to and stewardship of soils point to alternative frameworks for living and dying? Dr. Lyons explores the way life strives to flourish in the face of violence, criminalization, and poisoning produced by militarized, growth-oriented development in the midst of the U.S.-Colombia war on drugs.


Title TBD

Dr. Travis J. De Wolfe, PhD

Date TBD, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST.

About the speaker: Dr. Travis J. De Wolfe, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia.

Institutional profile page.


Title TBD

Dr. Maya Hey, PhD

Date TBD, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST.

About the speaker: Dr. Maya Hey is a postdoctoral researcher with the Future Organisms project as part of an international trans-disciplinary team investigating Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). She brings a humanities and social science perspective to the life sciences, calling upon feminist, intersectional, and multispecies approaches to map out human response-ability in a more-than-human world. She is vested in questions related to fermentation, particularly as they relate to discourses of health, the rhetoric of microbiomes, and how we come to know microbial life.”

Professional page.



Logo designed by Alex Guillen

MSE special session at ASM Microbe 2022 conference

The Microbes and Social Equity working group is putting together a special session at the American Society for Microbiology’s annual Microbe meeting, which will be held in Washington, D.C. from June 9 – 13, 2022.

CTS16 (PPS). Microbes and Social Equity: the Microbial Components of Social, Environmental, and Health Justice

June 11, 2022, 1:45 PM – 3:45 PM

Room 206

DESCRIPTION

Microorganisms are critical to many aspects of biological life, including human health. The collective microbial community, our microbiome, can be impacted by the details of our lifestyle, including diet, hygiene, health status, and more, but many are driven by social, economic, medical, or political constraints that restrict available choices that may impact our health. Access to resources is the basis for creating and resolving social equity, access to healthcare, healthy foods, a suitable living environment, and to beneficial microorganisms, but also access to personal and occupational protection to avoid exposure to infectious disease. This special session explores the way that microbes connect public policy, social disparities, and human health, as well as the ongoing research, education, policy, and innovation in this field.

5 Presentations

1:45 PM – 3:45 PMMicrobes and Social Equity: the Microbial Components of Social, Environmental, and Health Justice
Suzanne Ishaq; Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME
1:45 PM – 2:15 PMInvited Speaker
Monica Trujillo; Queensborough Community Coll., New York, NY
2:15 PM – 2:45 PMInvited Speaker
Ariangela Kozik; Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
2:45 PM – 3:15 PMInvited Speaker
Carla Bonilla; Gonzaga Univ., Spokane, WA
3:15 PM – 3:45 PMPanel Discussion

Upon completion of this Cross-Track Symposium, the participant should be able to:

  • Recognize the connections that microbiomes have to social equity. This will be demonstrated with examples/case studies presented by speakers.
  • Discuss relevant issues in microbiomes and their connection to social equity and identify issues which could be explored further.
  • Appraise your own work for these connections between microbiomes and social equity, to designate places for professional growth and applying equitable design.

Track(s)/Subtrack(s)Host Microbe Biology

The Microbes and Social Equity working group is turning 2!

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.

Publications


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. 

  1. Introducing the Microbes and Social Equity Working Group: Considering the Microbial Components of Social, Environmental, and Health Justice | mSystems 
  2. Teaching with Microbes: Lessons from Fermentation during a Pandemic | mSystems
  3. Variation in Microbial Exposure at the Human-Animal Interface and the Implications for Microbiome-Mediated Health Outcome | mSystems  


Upcoming

  • 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!”

Presentations

Upcoming: 

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

Past

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.

Ishaq Lab presentations and live discussions at Ecological Society of America virtual meeting

Next week kicks off the live events, including with question + answer, discussions, and special sessions being held in real time, for the Ecological Society of America’s annual conference, which is being held virtually this year. Prerecorded presentations are already available on demand.

Can a necromenic nematode serve as a biological Trojan horse for an invasive ant?

Session 1-PS7: Vital Connections in Ecology: Breakthroughs in Understanding Species Interactions

Poster and narration available on demand.

Live discussion: Monday, August 2, 2021, 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM Pacific Time

Abstract:

Background/Question/Methods
The invasive European fire ant (Myrmica rubra) threatens native ant species and human health along the coast of Maine, United States. M. rubra mortality has been associated with infection by Pristionchus entomophagus, a necromenic nematode that is hypothesized to transfer pathogenic bacteria acquired from the environment to ant colonies. To investigate this hypothesis, we conducted a series of experiments on nematode-infected ants collected from Mount Desert Island. First, we isolated bacteria cultured from nematodes emerging from M. rubra cadavers and assessed the ability of the nematodes to acquire and transfer environmental bacteria to Galleria mellonella waxworm larvae. Second, we identified bacteria which were potentially transferred from nematodes to infected ant nests on MDI using bacterial community similarity and sequence tracking methods.

Results/Conclusions
Multiple bacterial species, including Paenibacillus spp., were found in the nematodes’ digestive tract. Serratia marcescens, Serratia nematodiphila, and Pseudomonas fluorescens were collected from the hemolymph of nematode-infected G. mellonella larvae. Variability was observed in insect virulence in relation to the site origin of the nematodes. In vitro assays confirmed uptake of red fluorescence protein (RFP)-labeled Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PA14 by nematodes. Bacteria were highly concentrated in the digestive tract of adult nematodes, some bacteria were observed in the digestive tract of juveniles with a more significant amount on their cuticle, and none on the cuticle of adults. RFP-labeled P. aeruginosa were not observed in hemolymph of G. mellonella larvae, indicating an apparent lack of bacterial transfer from juvenile nematodes to the insects despite larval mortality.

Host species was the primary factor affecting bacterial community profiles. Spiroplasma sp. and Serratia marcescens sequences were shared across ants, nematodes, and nematode-exposed G. mellonella larvae. Alternative to the idea of transferring bacteria from environment to host, we considered whether nematode-exposure might disorder or depauperate the endobiotic community of an insect host. While total bacterial diversity was not statistically lower in nematode-exposed G. mellonella larvae when compared to controls, 16 bacterial sequence variants were less abundant in nematode-exposed larvae, while three were increased, including Serratia, Pseudomonas, and Proteus.
This study suggests that transfer of bacteria from nematodes to ants is feasible, although largely serendipitous, and may contribute to ant mortality in Maine. Hypothetically, the use of an engineered biological control, such as nematodes carrying specifically-seeded bacterial species, may be effective, especially if the pathogenic bacteria are naturally found in soil ecosystems and represent a low risk for biosafety control.

Poster Citation: Hotopp*, A., Silverbrand, S., Ishaq, S.L., Dumont, J., Michaud, A.,  MacRae, J.,  Stock, S.P.,  Groden, E. “Can a necromenic nematode serve as a biological Trojan horse for an invasive ant?” Ecological Society of America 2021. (virtual). Aug 2-6, 2021. (poster)

Recent Press and Publications:

Bacteria from nematodes could be used to kill fire ants, UMaine research reveals”, Marcus Wolf, University of Maine news, July 27, 2021.

Ishaq, S.L., A. Hotopp2, S. Silverbrand2, J.E. Dumont, A. Michaud, J. MacRae, S. P. Stock, E. Groden. 2021. Assessment of pathogenic bacteria transfer from Pristionchus entomophagus (Nematoda: Diplogasteridae) to the invasive fire ant (Myrmica rubra) and its potential role in  colony mortality in coastal Maine. iScience 24(6):102663. Article.


Talk #93066, “The effect of simulated warming ocean temperatures on the bacterial communities on the shells of healthy and epizootic shell diseased American Lobster (Homarus americanus)”

COS 87: Climate Change: Communities 1
Recorded talk available on demand.

Live discussion: Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Pacific Time
The presentation will be available on demand starting on July 26th, and requires registration to the ESA conference.

Abstract

Background, question, and methods

The American lobster, Homarus americanus, is a vital species for the fishing industry along the North Atlantic coast of North America. However, populations in Southern New England have declined, most likely due to increasing ocean temperatures and prevalence of emerging disease. Our previous work suggested that temperature may not be the sole cause for epizootic shell disease (ESD). Here, we examined the shell bacterial communities and progression of ESD in non-shell diseased and diseased adult female lobsters under three simulated seasonal temperature cycles for a year.

Fifty-seven female lobsters were wild-caught from Maine’s management zones F and G, and were assessed for shell disease progression on a scale of 0 (no observable signs) to 3 (visible disease on >50% of the shell surface). ESD-negative lobsters (apparently healthy) and ESD-positive (diseased) lobsters were randomly dispersed into 3 systems, and within each system, healthy and diseased lobsters were placed into separate tanks. These systems were maintained at three temperature ranges comparable to the average seasonal ocean temperatures for Southern New England (SNE), Southern Maine (SME), and Northern Maine (NME) regions. Samples were collected at three timepoints, a baseline “summer” temperature where all tanks were the same temperature, a winter temperature four months later, and a summer temperature 10 months after that.

A total of 131 experimental samples, plus 10 controls, passed PCR amplification, amplicon quantification and purification, Illumina MiSeq ver. 4 sequencing, and quality-control filtering.  Sequences were processed using the R software platform, using DADA2, phyloseq, vegan, and assorted other packages.

Results and conclusions

The bacterial richness on lobster shells at the baseline timepoint, when lobsters were wild-caught, was higher than the winter time point, 4 months later, or the summer time point, 10 months later, for the same lobsters after having been kept in tanks, regardless of their temperature or shell disease status.  Similarly, the bacterial community membership (unweighted Jaccard similarity) was similar for all samples at baseline, but diverged for later time points.

Tank temperature significantly affected microbial community membership (unweighted Jaccard similarity), as well as the abundance of those community members (weighted Bray-Curtis dissimilarity).

Contrary to our expectations, ESD shell disease index did not progress over time or in warmer conditions, and we hypothesized that frequent tank water changes and shell moltings may have reduced the microbial load. Preliminary results indicate that shell stage and shell disease index were positively associated with increased bacterial richness on lobster shells.

Citation: Ishaq*, S.L., Lee, G., MacRae, J., Hamlin, H., Bouchard, D. “The effect of simulated warming ocean temperatures on the bacterial communities on the shells of healthy and epizootic shell diseased American Lobster (Homarus americanus).” Ecological Society of America 2021. (virtual). Aug 2-6, 2021. (accepted talk)


For some reason the ESA meeting site kept my Montana affiliation from 2017 for all 3 of my submissions.

SS 17: “Microbiomes and Social Equity” (19205)

Prerecorded content available on demand.

Live discussion: Thursday, August 5th, 2021, 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM Pacific Time

Microbiomes — environmental, human and other organismal symbionts — are increasingly seen as critical physiological, developmental and ecological mediators within and among living things, and between the latter and our abiotic environments. Therefore, it is no surprise that microbial communities may be altered, depleted or disrupted by social and economic determinants. Social inequality entails concrete alterations and differentiation of microbial communities among social groups, by way of such factors as nutritional access, environmental pollutants or green space availability, often to the detriment of human and ecosystem health. This special session will be organized as a panel discussion with break-out groups in order to provide participants the opportunity to discuss the ways in which social inequity interacts with microbiomes, and how we might intervene as scientists and communities to promote favorable microbiomes while advancing social equality. We hope to generate research questions and actionable items.

Panel speakers: Michael Friedman, Naupaka Zimmerman, Justin Stewart, Monica Trujillo, Sue Ishaq, Sierra Jech, Jennifer Bhatnagar, and Ariangela Kozik

ESA meeting program
: https://www.esa.org/longbeach/

Citation: The Microbes and Social Equity Working group, “Special Session 17: “Microbiomes and Social Equity” (19205).”, Ecological Society of America 2021. (virtual). Aug 5, 2021.

Recent Publication:

Ishaq, S.L., Parada Flores, F.J., Wolf, P.G., Bonilla, C.Y., Carney, M.A., Benezra, A., Wissel, E., Friedman, M., DeAngelis, K.M., Robinson, J.M., Fahimipour, A.K., Manus, M.B., Grieneisen, L., Dietz, L.G., Chauhan, A., Pathak, A., Kuthyar, S., Stewart, J.D., Dasari, M.R., Nonnamaker, E., Choudoir, M., Horve, P.F., Zimmerman, N.B., Kozik, A.J., Darling, K.W., Romero-Olivares, A.L., Hariharan, J., Farmer, N., Maki, K., Collier, J.L., O’Doherty, K., Letourneau, J., Kline, J., Moses, P.L., Morar, N. 2021. Introducing the Microbes and Social Equity Working Group: Considering the Microbial Components of Social, Environmental, and Health Justice. mSystems 6:4.