Happening today ‘Session 5: MSE Education Practices and Curriculum Design’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

Today is the fifth and final day of the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, which is focused on “MSE Education Practices and Curriculum Design”. Don’t worry, you still have time to register!

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.

Session 5: “MSE Education Practices and Curriculum Design”

Friday, July 22nd, 12:30 ~ 16:00 EST. post updated, event has passed, watch the recorded talks.

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., Assistant 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

Sarah Miller

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

“Tiny Earth: Leveraging an instructor community to create antiracist curriculum in a research course”

Dr. Ally Hunter
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

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

“Using wicked problems to CURE your teaching”

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

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



Happening today, ‘Session 4: Community engagement and collaboration’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

Today is the fourth day of the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, which is focused on “Community engagement and collaboration”. Don’t worry, you still have time to register and join the conversation!

This session will feature four talks featuring researchers who have experience bringing communities and members of the public into research teams as contributing members, rather than just study subjects. Not only does this improve the relationship between research and the public, but it creates better-informed research studies and wider spread of positive impacts. Our hope is that attendees for this session learn from different perspectives how to engage with communities early on to spark conversations and collaboration with their research.

Session 4: “Community engagement and collaboration”

Thursday, July 21st, 12:30 ~ 16:00 EST. post updated: This session has passed, watch the recorded talks.

Session leaders:

Portrait of Mustafa Saifuddin, Ph.D.,

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

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

Scope: Due to the interconnectedness of microbial processes and social justice, many types of microbial research could benefit from closer collaborations with communities impacted directly by the public health, environmental and climate justice implications of microbiomes. Some styles of microbiome research would yield more positive outcomes if the collaboration was built around mutual long-term goals, instead of specific projects, and if it was initiated during project conceptualization instead of after the project has been designed. This session will explore different styles of interdisciplinary collaborations centered on community needs, such as community advisory boards, community partnerships, community-led research design, and how to implement this into microbiome research.

Learning Objective of Session: Attendees will learn 1) approaches to community-centered collaborations, 2) how to leverage community professionals (e.g. health workers) in a ‘train the trainer model’, 3) how to start ethical conversations around environmental samples & broader experimental design, and 4) how to emphasize collaborations – including public health, government, policy makers, etc. as a collaborator and how to ask for their help/mindful collaborations.

Format of talks: Four 30-min lecture-style talks from researchers who have successfully built research collaborations with communities.

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

Session Speakers:

Dr. Pajau (PJ) Vangay, PhD. Science Community Manager, National Microbiome Data Collaborative, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“Advancing microbiome science, in partnership with communities”

Dr. Rosie Alegado

Dr. Rosie Alegado, PhD., Associate Professor, Oceanography; Director, Sea Grant Ulana ʻIke Center of Excellence; Director, School of Ocean and and Earth Science and Technology Maile Mentoring Bridge Program at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa

“Community-embedded microbiology in Indigenous spaces”

Dr. Arbor Quist

Dr. Arbor Quist, PhD., Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Justice & Community-Driven Epidemiology in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at the University of Southern California.

“Partnering with Communities in Environmental Disaster Research”

Professional headshot of Dr. Aidee Guzman

Dr. Aidee Guzman, PhD., NSF and UC Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Irvine.

“Building agricultural resilience from the ground up.”

12:30 – 14:15 Introduction and Speakers

14:15 – 14:30 Break

14:30 – 15:00 Fourth speaker

15:00 -16:00 Breakout room discussions based on skills development, in smaller groups

  • Community-based participatory research (CBPR) & Scientific Community Engagement
  • Best engagement practices (and things to avoid)
  • Community driven epidemiology
  • Agricultural community engagement
  • Finding a community to engage

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

Happening today, ‘Session 3: Transforming your research for policy engagement’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

Today is the third day of the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, but don’t worry, you still have time to register for the session. Today’s session 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.


Session 3: “Transforming your research for policy engagement”

Wednesday, July 20th, 12:30 ~ 16:00 EST. Post updated: watch the recorded talks here.

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

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

“The Elephant in the Lab: How can scientists engage in policy and advocacy?”

Dr. Kathleen Treseder

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

“My experience advocating for environmental policy with local policy makers: What worked, what didn’t.”

Dr. Sonja Birthisel

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

“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
  • Curriculum for science 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:

You might also be interested in:

Dr. Monica Trujillo, Associate Professor, MSE member, and Symposium session leader, will be at #ASMhillday on July 26th to educate policymakers on microbiology, climate change, and policy.

Happening today: ‘Session 2: Blending biological, social, and humanities writing’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

Today the second day of the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, which is focused on “Blending biological, social, and humanities writing”. Don’t worry, you still have time to register and join the session.

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.


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

Tuesday, July 19th, 12:30 ~ 16:00 EST. post updated, this event has passed, watch the recorded talks here.

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:


Happening today: ‘Session 1: Context-aware experimental designs’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

Today is first day of the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, which is focused on “Context-aware experimental designs”! Don’t worry, you still have time to register for the meeting.

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.

Session 1: “Context-aware experimental designs”

Monday, July 18th, 12:30 ~ 16:00 EST. post updated: This session has passed, watch the recorded talks.

It’s free, and held over Zoom.

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

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

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

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.

One week until ‘Session 5: MSE Education Practices and Curriculum Design’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

We are a week away from 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.

Session 5: “MSE Education Practices and Curriculum Design”

Friday, July 22nd, 12:30 ~ 16:00 EST. Register for this session, which is free and will be 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., Assistant 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

Sarah Miller

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

“Tiny Earth: Leveraging an instructor community to create antiracist curriculum in a research course”

Dr. Ally Hunter
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

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

“Using wicked problems to CURE your teaching”

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

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



One week until ‘Session 4: Community engagement and collaboration’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

We are a week away from the fourth day of the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, which is focused on “Community engagement and collaboration”. This session will feature four talks featuring researchers who have experience bringing communities and members of the public into research teams as contributing members, rather than just study subjects. Not only does this improve the relationship between research and the public, but it creates better-informed research studies and wider spread of positive impacts. Our hope is that attendees for this session learn from different perspectives how to engage with communities early on to spark conversations and collaboration with their research.

Session 4: “Community engagement and collaboration”

Thursday, July 21st, 12:30 ~ 16:00 EST. Register for this session, which is free and will be held over Zoom

Session leaders:

Portrait of Mustafa Saifuddin, Ph.D.,

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

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

Scope: Due to the interconnectedness of microbial processes and social justice, many types of microbial research could benefit from closer collaborations with communities impacted directly by the public health, environmental and climate justice implications of microbiomes. Some styles of microbiome research would yield more positive outcomes if the collaboration was built around mutual long-term goals, instead of specific projects, and if it was initiated during project conceptualization instead of after the project has been designed. This session will explore different styles of interdisciplinary collaborations centered on community needs, such as community advisory boards, community partnerships, community-led research design, and how to implement this into microbiome research.

Learning Objective of Session: Attendees will learn 1) approaches to community-centered collaborations, 2) how to leverage community professionals (e.g. health workers) in a ‘train the trainer model’, 3) how to start ethical conversations around environmental samples & broader experimental design, and 4) how to emphasize collaborations – including public health, government, policy makers, etc. as a collaborator and how to ask for their help/mindful collaborations.

Format of talks: Four 30-min lecture-style talks from researchers who have successfully built research collaborations with communities.

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

Session Speakers:

Dr. Pajau (PJ) Vangay, PhD. Science Community Manager, National Microbiome Data Collaborative, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“Advancing microbiome science, in partnership with communities”

Dr. Rosie Alegado

Dr. Rosie Alegado, PhD., Associate Professor, Oceanography; Director, Sea Grant Ulana ʻIke Center of Excellence; Director, School of Ocean and and Earth Science and Technology Maile Mentoring Bridge Program at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa

“Community-embedded microbiology in Indigenous spaces”

Dr. Arbor Quist

Dr. Arbor Quist, PhD., Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Justice & Community-Driven Epidemiology in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at the University of Southern California.

“Partnering with Communities in Environmental Disaster Research”

Professional headshot of Dr. Aidee Guzman

Dr. Aidee Guzman, PhD., NSF and UC Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Irvine.

“Building agricultural resilience from the ground up.”

12:30 – 14:15 Introduction and Speakers

14:15 – 14:30 Break

14:30 – 15:00 Fourth speaker

15:00 -16:00 Breakout room discussions based on skills development, in smaller groups

  • Community-based participatory research (CBPR) & Scientific Community Engagement
  • Best engagement practices (and things to avoid)
  • Community driven epidemiology
  • Agricultural community engagement
  • Finding a community to engage

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

One week until ‘Session 3: Transforming your research for policy engagement’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

We are a week away from 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.


Session 3: “Transforming your research for policy engagement”

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

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

“The Elephant in the Lab: How can scientists engage in policy and advocacy?”

Dr. Kathleen Treseder

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

“My experience advocating for environmental policy with local policy makers: What worked, what didn’t.”

Dr. Sonja Birthisel

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

“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
  • Curriculum for science 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:

Paper published on the 2021 MSE symposium!

I am delighted to announce that a collaborative paper on the 2021 Microbes and Social Equity Symposium was just published! I was invited by the Challenges journal’s editor-in-chief to submit a contribution about the group’s activities, and the together the session organizers, speakers, student assistants, and I wrote about our experiences putting this together. The journal is dedicated to published highly interdisciplinary research which looks things from multiple perspectives and which contributes to Planetary Health.

We learned that, much like microbes, audiences don’t always act the way you expect them to. Even better: we learned that by providing collaborative working time after listening to speaker sessions, which could be used to get our thoughts down on paper, we could capture the magic and inspiration of the conversations we had post-talks and revisit those later as research and outreach resources.

You can check out the full article here.

And, if you are interested by what you read about last year’s event, check out this year’s symposium, happening next week!

Designing the Microbes and Social Equity Symposium, a Novel Interdisciplinary Virtual Research Conference Based on Achieving Group-Directed Outputs

Suzanne L. Ishaq 1,2,*, Emily F. Wissel 3, Patricia G. Wolf 4,5, Laura Grieneisen 6, Erin M. Eggleston 7, Gwynne Mhuireach 8, Michael Friedman 9, Anne Lichtenwalner 1,10, Jessica Otero Machuca 11, Katherine Weatherford Darling 12,13, Amber L. Pearson 14, Frank S. Wertheim 15, Abigail J. Johnson 16, Leslie Hodges 17, Sabrina K. Young 18, Charlene C. Nielsen 19, Anita L. Kozyrskyj 20, Jean D. MacRae 21, Elise McKenna Myers 22, Ariangela J. Kozik 23, Lisa Marie Tussing-Humphreys 24, Monica Trujillo 25, Gaea A. Daniel 26, Michael R. Kramer 27, Sharon M. Donovan 28, Myra Arshad 29, Joe Balkan 30 and Sarah Hosler 31

Abstract: The Microbes and Social Equity working group was formed in 2020 to foster conversations on research, education, and policy related to how microorganisms connect to personal, societal, and environmental health, and to provide space and guidance for action. In 2021, we designed our first virtual Symposium to convene researchers already working in these areas for more guided discussions. The Symposium organizing team had never planned a research event of this scale or style, and this perspective piece details that process and our reflections. The goals were to 1) convene interdisciplinary audiences around topics involving microbiomes and health, 2) stimulate conversation around a selected list of paramount research topics, and 3) leverage the disciplinary and professional diversity of the group to create meaningful agendas and actionable items for attendees to continue to engage with after the meeting. Sixteen co-written documents were created during the Symposium which contained ideas and resources, or identified barriers and solutions to creating equity in ways which would promote beneficial microbial interactions. The most remarked-upon aspect was the working time in the breakout rooms built into the schedule. MSE members agreed that in future symposia, providing interactive workshops, training, or collaborative working time would provide useful content, a novel conference activity, and allow attendees to accomplish other work-oriented goals simultaneously.

Affiliations:

1    School of Food and Agriculture, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469, USA; 2    Institute of Medicine, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469, USA; 3    School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322; 4    Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, West-Lafayette, Indiana, USA, 47907; 5    Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA; 6    Department of Genetics, Cell, & Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55108, USA; 7    Department of Biology, Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont 05753, USA; 8    Department of Architecture, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403 USA; 9    Department of Science and Mathematics, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York 11205, USA; 10   Cooperative Extension, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469, USA; 11   Mayo Clinic, Orlando, Florida 32837, USA; 12   Social Science Program University of Maine at Augusta Bangor, Maine 04401, USA; 13   Graduate School of Biomedical Science & Engineering, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469, USA; 14   Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA; 15   Cooperative Extension, University of Maine, Springvale, Maine 04083, USA; 16   Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA; 17   Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, USA; 18   Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, USA; 19   School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; 20   Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; 21   Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Maine, 5711 Boardman Hall, Orono, Maine 04469, USA; 22   Boston Consulting Group, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, USA; 23   Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan. Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA; 24   Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA; 25   Department of Biology, Queensborough Community College, Queens, New York 11364, USA; 26   Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA; 27   Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA; 28   Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801 USA; 29   Department of Biology, Stoney Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794, USA; 30   Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, USA; 31   School of Food and Agriculture, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469, USA;

One week until ‘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.


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: