The objective of these studies is to characterize and quantify room-occupant microbial interactions, using the preterm, low birth weight infant as a model system. Many low birth weight infants receive broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment within the first week of life and often spend several months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This largely decouples infants from source inocula acquired during the birthing process, resetting the infant’s gut microbiome, and leaving a window of opportunity for atypical colonization. This abnormal colonization is characterized by low bacterial diversity, abrupt shifts in community composition, and an abundance of opportunistic pathogens.
A pilot study has already been completed and published. Key findings: (1) the same microbes in the gut are found in the infant (2) often these microbes are detected in room samples before they are detected in the infant (3) different room environment types have different microbial signatures
A follow up study is near completion and we hope to have a manuscript published in the summer of 2015.
For press from the first paper see:
– A blog post I wrote introducing the pilot paper and why I publish as Brandon and not Bubba Brooks.
– A nice write up not just on my work, but is a nice survey of hospital microbiome work.
– I made it to reddit (though just a mention)!
– If your generally interested in a built environment microbiome work, this is a good blog to follow.