Press Clips from 2016


November 22, 2016

The New York Times

Your Phone Carries Chemical Clues About You, but There Are Limits to Using Them

Your phone is pretty much a high-tech bucket of germs. Thousands of microscopic bugs crawl around on its surface. Remnants of dirty, old skin cells smudge its cover. Tiny hairs stick inside its buttons. And your hands have smeared hundreds of chemicals across its surface. The foundation on your face, the antidepressants you take, the shampoo in your shower and even the hard-core mosquito repellent you applied down in Panama four months ago: All of these things leave traces on your hands and phone. That's why scientists say they can use your phone to learn a lot about your lifestyle. Full Story


November 21, 2016

The San Diego Union Tribune

Biocom dinner celebrates hero, pioneer

The hero: Stephanie Decker, the event's patient-advocate speaker. She lost most of both legs in shielding her two young children as her house collapsed. Thanks to advanced prosthetics, which enabled her to stand as she spoke at last week's dinner, she has recovered her mobility. The explorer: keynote speaker Rob Knight, a UC San Diego professor known internationally for his research on the human microbiome -- the universe of microbes in and on people -- and its influence on health. Full Story


November 18, 2016

Phys.org

New method helps identify antibiotics in mass spectrometry datasets

An international team of computer scientists has for the first time developed a method to find antibiotics hidden in huge but still unexplored mass spectrometry datasets. They detailed their new method, called DEREPLICATOR, in the Oct. 31 issue of Nature Chemical Biology. Each year more than 2 million people develop antibiotic resistance in the United States, and researchers hope their work will help identify new antibiotics to effectively treat diseases. Full Story


November 18, 2016

laboratoryequipment.com

New Method Helps Identify Antibiotics in Mass Spectrometry Datasets

An international team of computer scientists has for the first time developed a method to find antibiotics hidden in huge but still unexplored mass spectrometry datasets. They detailed their new method, called DEREPLICATOR, in the Oct. 31 issue of Nature Chemical Biology. Each year more than 2 million people develop antibiotic resistance in the United States, and researchers hope their work will help identify new antibiotics to effectively treat diseases. "This is the first time that we are using Big Data to look into microbial chemistry and characterize antibiotics and other drug candidates," Full Story


November 14, 2016

Science Daily

Acoustic waves move fluids at the nanoscale

A team of mechanical engineers has successfully used acoustic waves to move fluids through small channels at the nanoscale. The breakthrough is a first step toward the manufacturing of small, portable devices that could be used for drug discovery and microrobotics applications. The devices could be integrated in a lab on a chip to sort cells, move liquids, manipulate particles and sense other biological components. For example, it could be used to filter a wide range of particles, such as bacteria, to conduct rapid diagnosis. Full Story


October 20, 2016

Cultures Magazine

Rob Knight in ASM Cultures

Rob Knight microbiome Q&A in Cultures Magazine, from the American Society for Microbiology. Full Story


October 10, 2016

US News

Germs in Dog Poop Can Point to Bowel Trouble

A dog's gut microbiome can reveal if it has inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but this method of diagnosis is not possible in people, a new study says. Gut microbiome refers to the varieties of germs in the digestive tract. IBD is a group of diseases that includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, analyzed fecal samples from dogs with and without IBD and identified a pattern of gut microbes associated with IBD. Using this pattern, the researchers were more than 90 percent accurate in predicting which dogs did or did not have IBD Full Story


October 3, 2016

SCIENMAG

Dog stool microbiome predicts canine inflammatory bowel disease

Our gut microbiomes - the varieties of microbes living in our digestive tracts - may play a role in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Since dogs can also suffer from IBD, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine analyzed fecal samples from dogs with and without the disease. They discovered a pattern of microbes indicative of IBD in dogs. With more than 90 percent accuracy, the team was able to use that information to predict which dogs had IBD and which did not. Full Story


June 25, 2016

San Diego Union Tribune

Microbiome research contributions highlighted

Rob Knight is profiled in a feature on some of the highest impact research happening on the Torrey Pines Mesa in San Diego. Full Story


June 7, 2016

Nature

The man who can map the chemicals all over your body

Pieter Dorrestein uses mass spectrometry to eavesdrop on the molecular conversations between microbes and their world. Full Story


April 22, 2016

Quartz

We're home to trillions of cells that aren't ours and they're keeping us alive

At any given time, you're only about half your human self. Living among our own 30 trillion cells are about 40 trillion bacteria according to a recent estimate--though others say we may have even more. (And there are also viruses and fungi). And though these microbes may get a bad name because they can cause illnesses, we also need them to function. They make up our microbiota, which has been compared to an entirely separate organ (paywall) because of all the jobs it carries out. Full Story


March 16, 2016

LA Times

Why doctors are swiping C-section babies with their mom's microbiome

Previous research has shown a correlation (though not causation) between people who were born via C-section and an increased risk of obesity, asthma, allergies and autism. One reason might be is that babies who are born via C-section do not pass through the mother's birth canal and do not get exposed to the healthy microbes living there. "Epidemiologically we know C-sections increase the risk of a lot of conditions. We also know it leads to a different microbiome from vaginal delivery," said Rob Knight, director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego Full Story


March 15, 2016

Huffington Post

The Healing Power Of Poop May Surprise You

Altering our gut bacteria with fecal transplants could one day help treat everything from infections to obesity. Last week at the inaugural Near Future Summit, a leadership conference of forward-thinking professionals, tech entrepreneur Peter Diamandis asked members of the audience to raise their hands if they'd been born vaginally. He then asked them to keep their hands raised if they had also been breastfed and if, in more recent years, they'd avoided antibiotics, Z-Paks and major surgery. In the end, just a few dozen people in the audience of 250 or so still had their hands up. Full Story


March 8, 2016

Science Magazine

How your microbiome can put you at the scene of the crime

One morning last summer, evolutionary biologist Jose Lopez was having coffee on the back porch of his house in Hollywood, Florida, when two burglars climbed in through a front window and did what home invaders usually do: They rifled through drawers, disconnected the TV to carry it off, and even opened the fridge to have a Coke. This wasn't an ordinary break-in, however. The invaders were employees of the local sheriff's office, and the burglary was part of a science project. Later, forensics experts swooped in to swab down surfaces and handles in the house. Full Story


March 2, 2016

Live Science

Microbial Manifesto: The Global Push to Understand the Microbiome (Kavli Roundtable)

Alan Brown is a writer and blogger for the Kavli Foundation. Read more perspective pieces on the Kavli Expert Voices landing page. Brown contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Microbes could soon be at the top of the world's big-science list. Late last year, a consortium of scientists from 50 U.S. institutions proposed the "Unified Microbiome Initiative," a national effort to advance our understanding of microbiomes, communities of single-celled organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. Full Story


February 23, 2016

Xconomy

How Aces in Big Data Play to San Diego's Strong Suit in Big Biology

Tech and software startups in San Diego have had a substantial recovery in recent years, aided by an expanding ecosystem of incubators and accelerators, co-working spaces, university organizations, and a new generation of investors.Nevertheless, Silicon Valley exerts a kind of gravitational pull on many local tech startups, often by offering better deal terms if startups relocate to the Bay Area and higher salaries for technically skilled employees. What can San Diego do about it? Think outside the box. Full Story