In addition to collaborating on research projects funded though the Center’s CDC/NIOSH funded research core, HICAHS researchers also work on projects related to agricultural worker health and safety supported by other funding mechanisms. One such focus area has been in the microbiome: work to characterize the microbes found in dairy workers and the dairy environment.
Microbes are present in all corners of the world in staggering numbers. For example, the ocean floor is home to 1029 microbial cells, or approximately 0.6% of the Earth’s total living biomass. The human body harbors an astounding number of microbes; the gastrointestinal tract alone is colonized by trillions of interacting microbes. Furthermore, microbes are highly concentrated in the near-surface atmosphere—millions of cells may be present in one cubic meter of air.
Microbes are essential, and intimately linked, to fundamental processes that promote human, animal and environmental health. Conversely, there are subsets of microbes that are known pathogens. Additionally, nonviable microbial particulate matter may also trigger allergic and inflammatory responses. Community alterations and environmental perturbations may facilitate and promote the presence and growth of these harmful species.
The Collaborative Health Research on the Microbiome and the Environment, or CHROME, focuses on the synergistic relationships between human, animal and environmental health. With the advent of next-generation sequencing, we are shifting the traditional paradigm of microbiology and industrial hygiene to high-throughput metagenomic approaches to better characterize and understand microbial niches, co-occurrences and competitive exclusions in the occupational and environmental setting. With the capabilities of bioinformatics and data pipelines, analytic approaches can move beyond basic descriptive statistics to better anticipate and develop interventions that effectively reduce or prevent occupational exposures and environmental stressors.
- Bioaerosol Exposures and Models of Human Responses in Dairies and Cattle Feedlots
Project PI: Stephen Reynolds
- Modeling and Predicting Microbiomes in Dairies: A Metagenomic Assessment of Bioaerosols
Project PI: Joshua Schaeffer
- Exposure Assessment of Bioaerosols in an Australian Dairy
Project PI: Sue Reed
- E. coli O157 Shedding and Antimicrobial Susceptibility on Colorado Dairies
Project PI: Craig McConnel
- Characterizing Biological Pollutants in Agricultural Runoff at Colorado Dairies
Project PI: Sheryl Magzamen
Aerobiome Discovery Network
HICAHS Director, Stephen Reynolds, participates in the Aerobiome Discovery Network. This research team works to converge previously unlinked expertise in atmospheric science, infectious diseases/pathogens of plants, animals, people, and ecology, epidemiology and microbiome/genomic sciences at Colorado State University to explore the fascinating field of aerobiology – the study of organic particles which are passively transported by the air. The Aerobiome Discovery Network is funded through the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University.