Do the Microbes in Your Workplace Impact the Microbes in Your Body?

Lab mouseWe studied the effects of environmental microbial exposures on the human microbiome in animal care workers. 

High level microbial exposures are common in many work settings and are linked to health effects. To determine whether the work micro biome contributes to the human micro biome of workers, Joseph Allen, Director of our Healthy Buildings Program, and his colleagues studied the environment and workers in academic mouse research facilities. 

The purpose of this study, published on PLOS ONE, was first to determine whether traditional methods of measuring microbial exposure using endotoxin can serve as a reasonable surrogate for sequencing-based measures of microbial exposure; historically, the vast majority of occupational studies rely on endotoxin measurement, and it is important to understand whether future studies relying on sequencing of microbial DNA can be extrapolated to settings with high endotoxin levels. Secondarily, our goal was to determine whether the human microbiome of animal care workers is impacted by the microbes in their work environment.

Read the Study


July 13, 2017

Peggy S. Lai , Joseph G. Allen, Diane S. Hutchinson, Nadim J. Ajami, Joseph F. Petrosino, Thomas Winters, Christopher Hug, Gary R. Wartenberg, Jose Vallarino, David C. Christiani


Photo Flickr | Mycroyance | CC BY-NC 2.0