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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Study Methods." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23647.
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B

Study Methods

COMMITTEE COMPOSITION

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies) appointed a committee of 16 experts to undertake the statement of task for this study. The committee was composed of members with expertise in such areas as microbial ecology, public health, building science and engineering, architecture, materials science, bioinformatics, and molecular characterization tools. Appendix C provides biographical information for each committee member.

Meetings and Information Gathering

The committee deliberated from approximately February 2016 to May 2017. To respond to its charge, the committee gathered information and data relevant to its statement of task by conducting a review of available literature and other publicly available resources, inviting experts to share perspectives at public meetings, and soliciting public comments online and in person.

The committee held four information-gathering meetings in Washington, DC, and Irvine, California, and heard from a variety of academic and private-sector researchers, as well as federal and state government officials. These meetings focused on understanding the current research being conducted in the field of the microbiomes of the built environment, as well as on identifying research needs and roadblocks in the microbiology, engineering, and building science fields.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Study Methods." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23647.
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The first meeting, held April 11–12, 2016, in Washington, DC, provided an opportunity for the committee to discuss the study with sponsoring organizations and to hear presentations from background speakers in areas relevant to study topics, including microbiology within built environments, microbiology within the International Space Station, and current engineering standards for big-box stores.

The second meeting, held June 20–12, 2016, in Washington, DC, included speakers who discussed interactions occurring between built environment microbiomes and human occupants, as well as major building systems that affect or are affected by indoor microbiomes and their impacts.

The third meeting, held October 17–18, 2016, in Irvine, California, included speakers knowledgeable about the toolkit for studying microbiome–built environment interactions, viruses and fungi in the built environment, and other topics. The meeting also included a number of younger researchers whose travel was supported by a travel award (sponsored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation) and who had the opportunity to present posters on their research.

The fourth meeting, held December 1–2, 2016, in Washington, DC, included speakers who discussed the impacts of such interventions as cleaning and the development of antimicrobial materials on indoor microorganisms, the role of dermal uptake in the indoor environment, and the current state of bioinformatics pipelines and analysis needs.

Public Communication

The committee’s two largest data-gathering meetings, in June and October 2016, provided opportunities to interact with additional stakeholders, including researchers and any others interested in the study topic. These participants contributed their views during open discussions following speaker presentations and through breakout sessions. The committee also worked to make its activities as transparent and accessible as possible for those who may not have been able to attend in person. The study website1 was updated regularly to reflect the committee’s recent and planned activities. Outreach efforts included a study-specific email address for comments and questions, as well as social media feeds and tags. A subscription button also was available to provide for the receipt of email updates on the study and solicitation of comments and input to be shared with the committee.

Live video streams and subsequent links to recordings of the open session presentations were also made available during the course of the study to provide an opportunity for input from those unable to attend commit-

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1 See http://nas-sites.org/builtmicrobiome (accessed on July 26, 2017).

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Study Methods." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23647.
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tee meetings in person. Any information provided to the committee from outside sources or through the online comment tool is available by request through the National Academies’ Public Access Records Office.

Invited Speakers

The following individuals were invited speakers at the committee’s meetings and data-gathering sessions:

Gary Adamkiewicz

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Rachel Adams

University of California, Berkeley

Gary Andersen

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,

University of California, Berkeley

Tina Bahadori

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Terry Brennan

Camroden Associates

Brandon “Bubba” Brooks

University of California, Berkeley

Lisa Chadwick

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Pieter Dorrestein

University of California, San Diego

Rob Dunn

North Carolina State University

Sarah Evans

Michigan State University

M. Patricia Fabian

Boston University

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Study Methods." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23647.
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Elizabeth Grice

University of Pennsylvania

Robin Guenther

Perkins+Will

Jonathan “Kirk” Harris

University of Colorado Denver

Scott Jackson

National Institute of Standards and Technology

Janet Jansson

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Lee Ann Kahlor

The University of Texas at Austin

Benjamin Kirkup

Naval Research Laboratory

Rob Knight

University of California, San Diego

Laura Kolb

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Jay Lennon

Indiana University Bloomington

Susan Lynch

University of California, San Francisco

Linsey Marr

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Jennifer Martiny

University of California, Irvine

Mark Mendell

California Department of Public Health

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Study Methods." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23647.
×

Shelly Miller

University of Colorado Boulder

Donald Milton

University of Maryland

Paula Olsiewski

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Amy Pruden

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Tiina Reponen

University of Cincinnati

Charles Robertson

University of Colorado Boulder

Richard Shaughnessy

University of Tulsa

Jeffrey Siegel

University of Toronto

Joanne Sordillo

Brigham and Women’s Hospital,

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Jelena Srebric

University of Maryland

Dennis Stanke

Trane Ingersoll Rand (retired)

Brent Stephens

Illinois Institute of Technology

Phil Stewart

Montana State University

Elizabeth Stulberg

Office of the Chief Scientist,

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Study Methods." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23647.
×

John Taylor

University of California, Berkeley

David Tomko

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Kevin van den Wymelenberg

University of Oregon

Kasthuri Venkateswaran

Jet Propulsion Laboratory,

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Michael Waring

Drexel University

Charles Weschler

Rutgers University

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Study Methods." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23647.
×
Page 277
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Study Methods." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23647.
×
Page 278
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Study Methods." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23647.
×
Page 279
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Study Methods." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23647.
×
Page 280
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Study Methods." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23647.
×
Page 281
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Study Methods." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23647.
×
Page 282
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People’s desire to understand the environments in which they live is a natural one. People spend most of their time in spaces and structures designed, built, and managed by humans, and it is estimated that people in developed countries now spend 90 percent of their lives indoors. As people move from homes to workplaces, traveling in cars and on transit systems, microorganisms are continually with and around them. The human-associated microbes that are shed, along with the human behaviors that affect their transport and removal, make significant contributions to the diversity of the indoor microbiome.

The characteristics of “healthy” indoor environments cannot yet be defined, nor do microbial, clinical, and building researchers yet understand how to modify features of indoor environments—such as building ventilation systems and the chemistry of building materials—in ways that would have predictable impacts on microbial communities to promote health and prevent disease. The factors that affect the environments within buildings, the ways in which building characteristics influence the composition and function of indoor microbial communities, and the ways in which these microbial communities relate to human health and well-being are extraordinarily complex and can be explored only as a dynamic, interconnected ecosystem by engaging the fields of microbial biology and ecology, chemistry, building science, and human physiology.

This report reviews what is known about the intersection of these disciplines, and how new tools may facilitate advances in understanding the ecosystem of built environments, indoor microbiomes, and effects on human health and well-being. It offers a research agenda to generate the information needed so that stakeholders with an interest in understanding the impacts of built environments will be able to make more informed decisions.

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