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

  • Tackling Lyme Disease with Immunity

    It’s Lyme disease season in many areas of the United States, including the Northeast, the Midwest, and some places on the West Coast. In our latest Research Roundtable event, ISB Associate Professor Dr. Naeha Subramanian discussed the latest Lyme disease research conducted in her lab.

  • Wei Lab

    New Technology Reveals Single Cancer Cells Have Different Appetites for Fatty Acids

    A recently developed method by the Wei Lab at Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) and University of California, Riverside provides new insights into cancer biology by allowing researchers to show how fatty acids are absorbed by single cells. This work was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

  • Glioblastoma tumor slice and corresponding density map

    Looking at Tumors Through a New Lens

    To improve the efficacy of neoadjuvant immune checkpoint blockade against glioblastoma, researchers are looking for vulnerabilities in surgically removed tissues – a difficulty due to the vast differences within the tumor and between patients. To address this, ISB researchers and their collaborators developed a new way to study tumors.