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AAAS Symposium on Microbiomes of the Built Environment 

Sponsored with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

March 27, 2014
Washington, DC

Humans spend approximately 90% of each day indoors within environments built for shelter and environmental control. Recent research has revealed that even in our built environments, however, tremendous numbers and diverse species of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa exist in the air, in water systems, and on surfaces. These microbial communities, or “microbiomes,” affect our built environments through mold and corrosion. They also may influence our susceptibility to allergies, infectious diseases, and other aspects of health – both negatively and positively.

All of our built environments contain microbiomes, including houses, offices, retail stores, public buildings, hospitals, and modes of transportation. Understanding the diversity of microorganisms present, how they behave under different environmental conditions/building designs, and their impacts on our health and infrastructure, are critical steps that will help us improve our building designs, and subsequently our energy use, health, and security.
The AAAS Symposium on Microbiomes of the Built Environment, organized in collaboration with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, offers the latest findings and perspectives of leading scientific experts in the field, and is designed to bring together the wider community of potential stakeholders for a discussion on research needs and next steps.

The symposium will be held in the AAAS auditorium at 1200 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC, on March 27, 2014, from 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with a reception to follow. More information can be found on the agenda tab.  

This event is currently by invitation only. Please register soon, and if you are unable to attend, please email Bethany Spencer to cancel your registration, so that others may attend.
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Image credits: BioBE Climate Chamber Experiment, courtesy of the Biology and the Built Environment Center, University of Oregon, © 2012. Microbe image B-102458, Ms. Amy Summers, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 2013.

About AAAS
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science (www.sciencemag.org) as well as Science Translational Medicine (www.sciencetranslationalmedicine.org) and Science Signaling (www.sciencesignaling.org). AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS. www.aaas.org.

About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grantmaking institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance. This symposium was funded in part through the Foundation’s Microbiology of the Built Environment program, which supports the development of a rigorous new field of scientific inquiry focused on characterizing the complex microbiology of the built environments where people live, work, and play. www.sloan.org.
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