SciCafe: Microbes in the House

December 2, 2015

SciCafe December 2015

Americans spend an estimated 92% of their time indoors, yet we know little about the diversity of microbes that exist in the built environment. This collection of microbes (also known as the microbiome) is influenced by where we live, whom we live with, and what we do. The microbiome of our built environments also have an effect on us, e.g., the microbes in a hospital may influence how we recover from illness or injury. Geneticist Jack Gilbert presents the most exciting and recent discoveries from this invisible world.

This SciCafe event occurred on December 2, 2016. Hear the full program in this podcast, or watch a version here: 

Read More

  • A recent article examines the extent of individual variation in microbial identities and how this might determine disease susceptibility, therapeutic responses, and recovery from clinical interventions. 
  • This video, featuring Dr. Jack Gilbert, explains how having a dog could be good for your health thanks to bacteria.
  • video on how bacteria may actually be beneficial to hospitals.
  • Learn about the Home Microbiome Project, an initiative aimed at uncovering the dynamic co-associations between people's bacteria and the bacteria found in their homes

About the Speaker


Dr. Jack A. Gilbert earned his Ph.D. from Unilever and Nottingham University, UK in 2002, and received his postdoctoral training at Queens University, Canada. Gilbert is Group Leader for Microbial Ecology at Argonne National Laboratory, Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution and the Department of Surgery at University of Chicago, Associate Director of the Institute of Genomic and Systems Biology, Research Associate at the Field Museum of Natural History, and Senior Scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory. He uses molecular analysis and sequencing tools to test fundamental hypotheses in microbial ecology, and is currently working on generating observational and mechanistic models of microbial communities in natural, urban, built and human ecosystems. In 2014 he was recognized on Crain’s Business Chicago’s 40 Under 40 List, and in 2015, he was listed as one of the “50 most influential scientists” by Business Insider.

Frequent Geek Cards

Get your card stamped at the information table when you attend SciCafe.

  • Get three stamps, receive a free drink.
  • Get five stamps, receive a free Frequent Geek T-shirt.
  • Get all nine stamps, and receive two tickets to a special exhibition of your choice.

SciCafe: Microbes in theHouse, The Secret World Inside You, and related activities are generously supported by the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  

Generous support for The Secret World Inside You and its educational resources has been provided by the Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation and the Milstein Family.

The Secret World Inside You is proudly supported by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

The SciCafe Series is proudly sponsored by Judy and Josh Weston.