Dusting for Microbial Fingerprints at a New Hospital

Daniel Smith collects microbial samples from the CCD

Dan Smith collects microbial samples from the CCD

This must have been the week for Nature to cover the University of Chicago. This morning we took a look at Brian Owens’ story on sleep research, and today Nature’s Beth Mole also wrote about Jack Gilbert’s Hospital Microbiome Project to analyze changes in the bacterial community in our new Center for Care and Discovery as doctors, patients and staff go about the daily business of medicine.

Science Life had a chance to tag along with Dan Smith, one of Gilbert’s colleagues from Argonne National Laboratory, as he collected samples for the project in December. Gilbert, Smith and their team will be collecting more than 12,000 samples over the next two years from every surface in the hospital imaginable, plus doctors, patients and staff too. As you can see in the video below, it’s going to take a lot of Q-tips.

The Hospital Microbiome Project was also mentioned in a recent article in the New York Times about a number of research projects underway to understand the microbial environment we live with indoors.

About Matt Wood (507 Articles)
Matt Wood is a senior science writer at the University of Chicago Medicine and nonfiction editor for Another Chicago Magazine.
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