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:

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:

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:

Introducing the Microbes and Social Equity Working Group: Considering the Microbial Components of Social, Environmental, and Health Justice

The Microbes and Social Equity Working Group is delighted to make its published debut, with this collaboratively-written perspective piece introducing ourselves and our goals. You can read about us here.

This piece also debuts the special series we are curating in partnership with the scientific journal mSystems; “Special Series: Social Equity as a Means of Resolving Disparities in Microbial Exposure“. Over the next few months to a year, we will be adding additional peer-reviewed, cutting edge research, review, concept, and perspective pieces from researchers around the globe on a myriad of topics which center around social inequity and microbial exposures.

Ishaq, S.L., Parada, 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., Pathak, A., Chauhan, 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.A., 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.

Woman in a dress sitting in front of a laptop displaying the title slide to a presentation called "Microbes on the Farm".

Virtually speaking

This fall, my speaking engagements will all be held virtually, to aid in ongoing infectious-disease-prevention protocols. While in place to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, these same protocols will also help me avoid the annual fall respiratory infection that I otherwise inevitably encounter while working with overly-stressed students.

But, staying away from others doesn’t mean I can’t stay connected! Virtual events might not feel as fun, but they have allowed me to reach a wider audience, because recorded talks are made available after the live event. And, annotated or subtitled recordings make my talks more accessible!

This fall, I have several public talks and scientific presentations lined up:

  1. University of Maine Cooperative Extension Oxford County 4-H Teen Science Cafe (virtual), “Gut microbes on the farm”, Oct 15, 2020. For teens, this event is free but does require registration to obtain the link.
  2. BioME (Bioscience Association of Maine) Virtual Coffee Hour, Oct 14, 2020. This event is open to the public but requires registration.
  3. Genomes to Phenomes (G2P) group, University of Maine. Co-hosting a session with grad student Alice Hotopp, on gut microbes and survival of reintroduced animals. Oct 30, 2020. Link available to University of Maine community members.
  4. University of Maine Medicine seminar series (virtual), “A crash course in the gut microbiome” , Nov 6, 2020. This event is open to the public and free, but does require registration to obtain the link.
  5. Hotopp, A., Silverbrand, S., Ishaq, S.L.,  MacRae, J.,  Stock, S.P.,  Groden, E. “Can a necromenic nematode serve as a biological Trojan horse for an invasive ant?” Entomological Society of America 2020 (virtual). Nov 15-18, 2020. This pre-recorded seminar requires paid event registration.
  6. Yeoman (presenter), C., Lachman, M., Ishaq, S., Olivo, S., Swartz, J., Herrygers, M., Berarddinelli, J.  “Development of Climactic Oral and Rectal Microbiomes Corresponds to Peak Immunoglobin Titers in Lambs.”  Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases (CRWAD) 2020. (Virtual) Dec 5, 2020. This seminar requires paid event registration.

‘Microbes on the Farm’ video available

Last week, I gave a presentation to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Oxford County 4-H Jamboree.

The video is available on YouTube, with subtitles! I sat down to learn how to create and embed them in videos, to help make my science more approachable. The video is made for kids and contains suitable content for all ages, although the difficulty of the content makes it best for kids 12 and up.

Still time to sign up for UMaine 4H virtual summer programs!

Looking for kids’ activities for the summer? Check out the virtual programs hosted by the University of Maine Extension 4H! Learn about animals, how to care for them, and how your food system works.

From their main page, you can find descriptions of each virtual session, including subject material, presenter, and recommended age group (k-12). You can register for as many or as few sessions as you like, which will be delivered over Zoom.

Registration is free! But if you are able to donate to support the program, those are welcome through the 4H site.

I’ll be presenting on Thursday, August 13th, 2020 at 3 pm EST.

Gut Microbes on the Farm

Learn about different digestive tracts in livestock, and the community of microbes living there that help animals digest food, or stay healthy. This presentation will give some background on different digestive tract anatomy, the factors which influence microbes in the gut, and how we can care for animals by caring for their microbes. This presentation will also feature a short presentation on Dr. Ishaq’s journey into science and a Q&A session where attendees can ask questions about gut microbes, life as a scientist, or how to get involved in this time of career. Register by August 12.

Youth ages 12 & up; open to all youth.

A picture pointing downwards at two hands wearing gardening gloves and holding handfuls of soil in each hand. Roots and leaves protrude from the soil and the grass on the ground is blurred in the background.

Compost, food security, and social justice

What do compost, food security, and social justice have in common? They are all part of creating sustainable, more localized food systems that benefit the community. Want to know more? Check out the piece I co-wrote for The Conversation, along with two other soil microbe researchers.

City compost programs turn garbage into ‘black gold’ that boosts food security and social justice.” Kristen DeAngelis, Gwynne Mhuireach, Sue Ishaq, The Conversation. June 11, 2020

Dr. Kristen DeAngelis is an Associate Professor who studies microbes in soils, climate change, and human impacts, and Dr. Gwynne Mhuireach, a post-doctoral researcher who studies microbes in soils in the built environment and human health.

Research article for young scientists published!

I tried something new last new, I helped rewrite an already published study into a version specifically for young scientists, aged 10-18. Ashkaan Fahimipour, the lead author on the original research article examining the effect of light on bacterial communities in household dust, brought up the idea while we were working together at BioBE.

The journal is called Frontier for Young Minds, and pairs a young scientist with an established scientist to review your articles, a ~1,500 word summary version. The journal provides cartoon illustrations that help bring your science to life.

Ours was written by an undergrad I was mentoring at UO, Sam Rosenberg, and architecture grad student Julia May helped us with our Figures. I wasn’t involved with the original article, but along with Ashkaan, I helped Sam draft the summary as non-technical summaries of highly-technical science can be a real challenge. Check it out!

Rosenberg, S., Ishaq, S., May, J., Fahimipour, A.K. 2020. How light exposure changes bacterial communities in household dust. Frontiers for Young Minds. Article.

500WS Eugene Pod Science Salon; “Hot Mess: Biodiversity in the Sky Islands and following fire.”