ISB News

Mining Sewage To Track Population Health

Everybody pees and poops. So, what if there was a way to harness sewage to understand the general health of a population? 

That is exactly what Dr. Eric Alm is pursuing. Alm delivered the keynote speech — “Population-Scale COVID-19 Tracking Using Data Collected from Sewage” — in a live stream event put on by ISB and Town Hall Seattle. Alm discussed the promise of this novel form of public health tracking, and then joined ISB Assistant Professor Dr. Sean Gibbons for a Q&A conversation. 

Watch the video and Q&A here

Alm is a microbiome researcher and MIT professor, and the co-founder and scientific director of Biobot Analytics. Biobot collects the valuable information in waste water, analyzes it, and shares ways of leveraging that information to make cities healthier.

The ISB-Town Hall event was the public-facing precursor to ISB’s virtual course and symposium on the microbiome and its future role in precision medicine. The two-day event takes place October 15-16, and is called “Harnessing Our Inner Ecology To Track and Treat Disease.” It is free, and is intended for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, principal investigators, industry scientists, educators, and clinicians from across the globe. Register for this event here

ISB and Town Hall Seattle Team Up

This virtual event is one of many being offered this year thanks to a partnership between Town Hall Seattle and ISB. In addition, we have a four-part 2020 speaker series highlighting some of the most important topics in science and health care. 

Future events will focus on brain health (October 20, 2020 at 6 p.m. PT with keynote Dr. David Eagleman) and AI in health care (November 5, 2020 at 6 p.m. PT with keynote Ellen Ullman). Please visit our speaker series events page for more information.

Throughout 2020, ISB is celebrating our 20th anniversary. Genomics pioneer Dr. Lee Hood co-founded ISB in 2000. We are a non-profit 501(c)3 biomedical research organization based in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

Recent Articles

  • Dr. Jim Heath and Dr. David Eagleman

    David Eagleman and Creating New Senses for Humans

    Dr. David Eagleman — bestselling author, TV personality, CEO of Neosensory, adjunct professor at Stanford, TED speaker, and more — was the featured guest at the ISB-Town Hall Seattle event focusing on brain health. His presentation was titled “Can We Create New Senses for Humans?”

  • Human proteome blueprint

    HUPO Releases 10-Year High-Stringency Blueprint of Human Proteome

    Like the draft “shotgun” Human Genome Project of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO), the HPP has now reached a significant decadal milestone of more than 90 percent completion of the Human Proteome that is referred to as the human proteome “parts list.”

  • Overall composition of gut microbiome in participants

    Variations in the Microbiome Associated with Health, Disease

    ISB researchers examined the associations between the gut microbiomes of about 3,400 people and roughly 150 host characteristics. The team looked at diet, medication use, clinical blood markers, and other lifestyle and clinical factors, and found evidence that variations of the gut microbiome are associated with health and disease.