APIC 2018 promises to offer a robust learning experience with more than 100 educational sessions and workshops led by experts from around the globe. A highlight is always the plenary sessions, which provide new perspectives on common infection prevention issues. This year’s plenary keynote speakers are sure to add a new dimension to your thinking. Prevention Strategist recently spoke with Jessica Green, PhD, who offered a sneak peek of what she plans to cover during her presentation.

 

Jessica Green, PhD, is an engineer and ecologist who specializes in biodiversity theory and microbial systems. Jessica uses approaches at the interface of microbiology, ecology, and data science to understand complex ecosystems with trillions of diverse microorganisms interacting with each other, with humans, and with the environment. She has been honored with numerous awards, including a Blaise Pascal International Research Chair, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and a TED Senior Fellowship. Jessica is a professor of biology at the University of Oregon, where she codirects the Biology and Built Environment Center (BioBE), and is external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute.

 

 

Q: CAN YOU GIVE A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF WHAT YOU’LL BE SHARING WITH US AT APIC’S ANNUAL CONFERENCE?

I’ll be sharing new perspectives on indoor environmental quality based on published microbiome research and will touch upon emerging technologies and healthcare environments.

Q: AS A PROFESSOR, HOW DO YOU ENGAGE WITH YOUR STUDENTS TO DRAW OUT THEIR PASSION AND GET THEM EXCITED?

One way to engage students is to actively involve them in research. As an example, I worked with undergraduate students on a project to examine how direct contact among humans might impact the skin microbiome. We used roller derby as our model system and published our research here: https://peerj.com/articles/53/.

Q: WHAT PROJECT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

I am working on a lot of projects at the moment! One project I am working on at the University of Oregon is focused on understanding how daylighting impacts the viability and composition of microbial communities in indoor dust.

Q: WHAT DO YOU SEEN ON THE HORIZON FOR THE FIELD OF INFECTION PREVENTION AND CONTROL?

My sense is that infection prevention and control is becoming increasingly grounded in microbial ecology. Rather than focusing on individual pathogens, we now have access to technology that allows us to understand how individual pathogens respond to the entire indoor ecosystem.

Q: WHAT CAN APIC MEMBERS DO TO HELP FACILITATE A HEALTHY MICROBIAL ENVIRONMENT?

Advocate for, sponsor, and engage in microbiome research in your facility. The more research and development that takes place in healthcare facilities, the faster we will learn. An example of this type of research can be found here: https://www.nature.com/articles/ismej2011211.

Q: AND FINALLY, WHAT EXCITES YOU?

As an entrepreneur, I’m excited about developing technologies that one day may improve the lives of people and the planet. I also love learning and very much look forward to the APIC conference.