Science & Technology

The emergence of microbiome centers

December 19, 2019

I am happy to announce the publication of a new paper from a group of people, myself included, about the "Emergence of Microbiome Centers."

Microbes Make Chemicals for Scent Marking in a Cat

September 13, 2019
Domestic cats, like many other mammals, use smelly secretions from anal sacs to mark territory and communicate with other animals. A new study from the Genome Center at the University of California, Davis, shows that many odiferous compounds from a male cat are actually made not by the cat, but by a community of bacteria living in the anal sacs. The work is published Sept. 13 in PLOS ONE.  “Cats use a lot of volatile chemicals for signaling, and they probably don’t make them all,” said David Coil, project scientist at the Genome Center and an author on the paper.  The experiment grew out of the KittyBiome Project started at the Genome Center by Holly Ganz, a postdoctoral researcher working with Coil and Jonathan Eisen, professor of evolution and ecology in the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences.

Robot Arm Tastes With Engineered Bacteria

June 26, 2019
A robotic gripping arm that uses engineered bacteria to “taste” for a specific chemical has been developed by engineers at the University of California, Davis, and Carnegie Mellon University. The gripper is a proof-of-concept for biologically-based soft robotics.  “Our long-term vision is about building a synthetic microbiota for soft robots that can help with repair, energy generation or biosensing of the environment,” said Cheemeng Tan, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at UC Davis. The work was published June 26 in the journal Science Robotics. 

Mice Reproducibility Crisis May Be Linked To Microbiota

April 08, 2019
Professor Andreas Baumler was featured in an article by Emma Yasinski at The Scientist regarding his team's recently published evidence that at least in some mouse studies, the problem of reproducibility may come down to the bacteria in the model’s gut.

US Government Interagency Microbiome Plan Released

May 02, 2018
A group of 23 U.S. government agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), have joined to produce the Interagency Strategic Plan for Microbiome Research, which outlines the objectives, structure and principles for coordinated research in this important field of study.