Speaker lineup confirmed for ‘Session 4: Community engagement and collaboration’ at the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium!

The speaker lineup is set for the fourth day of the July 2022 MSE virtual symposium, which is focused on “Community engagement and collaboration”. This session will feature three talks featuring researchers who have experience creating research with communities. 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. Our hope is that attendees for this session learn from different perspectives how foster their own community connections which would benefit their work.

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 4: “Community engagement and collaboration”

Thursday, July 21st, 12:30 ~ 16:00 EST. Register for this session.

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: Three 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. Arbor Quist, PhD., Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Justice & Community-Driven Epidemiology at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Rosie Alegado, PhD., Associate Professor of Oceanography & Sea Grant College Program at  University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

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

  • Topics in development

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

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

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, 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
  • 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:

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.

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, A Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE)”

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:



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).

MSE seminar today: Dr. Liat Shenhav, “It’s about time: ecological and eco-evolutionary dynamics across the scales”

Today is final installment in the spring 2022 Microbes and Social Equity speaker series! Each week, we have been hearing from a researcher who shared their work and perspective on how microbes are involved in all aspects of our lives, and how those microbes can affect individuals, communities, and ecosystems.

This series ran from Jan 19 – May 4, Wednesdays at 12:00 – 13:00 EST. These are presented over Zoom, and open to researchers, practitioners, students, and the public. Registration is free, and required for each individual seminar you would like to attend. You can find the full speaker list, details, and recordings from previous talks here.


“It’s about time: ecological and eco-evolutionary dynamics across the scales”

Dr. Liat Shenhav, PhD

May 4, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

Dr. Liat Shenhav. Photo borrowed from LinkedIN.

About the speaker: Dr. Liat Shenhav is an independent research fellow at the Center for Studies in Physics and Biology at the Rockefeller University. Prior to that, Liat received a B.Sc. and. M.Sc. in Mathematics and Statistics from Tel-Aviv University, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of California, Los Angeles. Liat’s research focuses on developing computational methods for studying spatiotemporal dynamics of complex ecosystems and their contribution to human health and disease.

About the talk: Complex microbial communities play an important role across many domains of life, from the female reproductive tract, through the oceans, to the plant rhizosphere. The study of these communities offers great opportunities for biological discovery, due to the ease of their measurement, the ability to perturb them, and their rapidly evolving nature. Yet, their complex composition, dynamic nature, and intricate interactions with multiple other systems, make it difficult to extract robust and reproducible patterns from these ecosystems. To uncover their latent properties, I develop models that combine longitudinal data analysis and statistical learning, and which draw from principles of community ecology, complexity theory and evolution. 

I will briefly present methods for decomposition of microbial dynamics at an ecological scale (Shenhav et al., Nature Methods 2019; Martino & Shenhav et al., Nature Biotechnology). Using these methods we found significant differences in the trajectories of the infant microbiome in the first years of life as a function of early life exposures, namely mode of delivery and breastfeeding. I will then show how incorporating eco-evolutionary considerations allowed us to detect signals of purifying selection across ecosystems. I will demonstrate how interactions between evolution and ecology played a vital role in shaping microbial communities and the standard genetics code (Shenhav & Zeevi, Science 2020).

Inspired by these discoveries, I am currently expanding the scope beyond the microbiome, modeling multi-layered data on human milk composition. I will present results from an ongoing study in which I am building integrative models of nasal, gut and milk microbiota, combined with human milk components, to predict infant respiratory health. I found that the temporal dynamics of microbiota in the first year of life, mediated by milk composition, predict the development of chronic respiratory disease later in childhood. These models, designed to identify robust spatiotemporal patterns, would help us better understand the nature and impact of complex ecosystems like the microbiome and human milk from the time of formation and throughout life.

Institutional profile page.


MSE seminar this Wednesday: Dr. Liat Shenhav, “It’s about time: ecological and eco-evolutionary dynamics across the scales”

This Wednesday there is final installment in the spring 2022 Microbes and Social Equity speaker series! Each week, we have been hearing from a researcher who shared their work and perspective on how microbes are involved in all aspects of our lives, and how those microbes can affect individuals, communities, and ecosystems.

This series runs from Jan 19 – May 4, Wednesdays at 12:00 – 13:00 EST. These are presented over Zoom, and open to researchers, practitioners, students, and the public. Registration is free, and required for each individual seminar you would like to attend. You can find the full speaker list, details, and recordings from previous talks here.

“It’s about time: ecological and eco-evolutionary dynamics across the scales”

Dr. Liat Shenhav, PhD

May 4, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

Dr. Liat Shenhav. Photo borrowed from LinkedIN.

About the speaker: Dr. Liat Shenhav is an independent research fellow at the Center for Studies in Physics and Biology at the Rockefeller University. Prior to that, Liat received a B.Sc. and. M.Sc. in Mathematics and Statistics from Tel-Aviv University, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of California, Los Angeles. Liat’s research focuses on developing computational methods for studying spatiotemporal dynamics of complex ecosystems and their contribution to human health and disease.

About the talk: Complex microbial communities play an important role across many domains of life, from the female reproductive tract, through the oceans, to the plant rhizosphere. The study of these communities offers great opportunities for biological discovery, due to the ease of their measurement, the ability to perturb them, and their rapidly evolving nature. Yet, their complex composition, dynamic nature, and intricate interactions with multiple other systems, make it difficult to extract robust and reproducible patterns from these ecosystems. To uncover their latent properties, I develop models that combine longitudinal data analysis and statistical learning, and which draw from principles of community ecology, complexity theory and evolution. 

I will briefly present methods for decomposition of microbial dynamics at an ecological scale (Shenhav et al., Nature Methods 2019; Martino & Shenhav et al., Nature Biotechnology). Using these methods we found significant differences in the trajectories of the infant microbiome in the first years of life as a function of early life exposures, namely mode of delivery and breastfeeding. I will then show how incorporating eco-evolutionary considerations allowed us to detect signals of purifying selection across ecosystems. I will demonstrate how interactions between evolution and ecology played a vital role in shaping microbial communities and the standard genetics code (Shenhav & Zeevi, Science 2020).

Inspired by these discoveries, I am currently expanding the scope beyond the microbiome, modeling multi-layered data on human milk composition. I will present results from an ongoing study in which I am building integrative models of nasal, gut and milk microbiota, combined with human milk components, to predict infant respiratory health. I found that the temporal dynamics of microbiota in the first year of life, mediated by milk composition, predict the development of chronic respiratory disease later in childhood. These models, designed to identify robust spatiotemporal patterns, would help us better understand the nature and impact of complex ecosystems like the microbiome and human milk from the time of formation and throughout life.

Institutional profile page.


MSE seminar today: Dr. Maya Hey, “What Connects Us: stories of working across difference with humans and microbes”

Today is the last installment in the spring 2022 Microbes and Social Equity speaker series! Each week, we’ll hear from a researcher who will share their work and perspective on how microbes are involved in all aspects of our lives, and how those microbes can affect individuals, communities, and ecosystems.

This series will run from Jan 19 – May 4, Wednesdays at 12:00 – 13:00 EST. These are presented over Zoom, and open to researchers, practitioners, students, and the public. Registration is free, and required for each individual seminar you would like to attend. You can find the full speaker list, details, and registration links for each seminar in the series here.

“What Connects Us: stories of working across difference with humans and microbes”

Dr. Maya Hey, PhD

April 27, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

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.

Talk summary: What connects us across different scales of life? This talk examines three case studies—on fermentation, conversation, and innovation—to better understand how micro-organisms affect macro-cultures and vice-versa, with emphasis on working with difference instead of resolving them. 

MSE seminar this Wednesday: Dr. Maya Hey, “What Connects Us: stories of working across difference with humans and microbes”

This Wednesday is the last installment in the spring 2022 Microbes and Social Equity speaker series! Each week, we’ll hear from a researcher who will share their work and perspective on how microbes are involved in all aspects of our lives, and how those microbes can affect individuals, communities, and ecosystems.

This series will run from Jan 19 – May 4, Wednesdays at 12:00 – 13:00 EST. These are presented over Zoom, and open to researchers, practitioners, students, and the public. Registration is free, and required for each individual seminar you would like to attend. You can find the full speaker list, details, and registration links for each seminar in the series here.

“What Connects Us: stories of working across difference with humans and microbes”

Dr. Maya Hey, PhD

April 27, 2022, 12:00 – 13:00 EST. Register for this free talk.

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.

Talk summary: What connects us across different scales of life? This talk examines three case studies—on fermentation, conversation, and innovation—to better understand how micro-organisms affect macro-cultures and vice-versa, with emphasis on working with difference instead of resolving them.