University of California, Berkeley

To analyze the neonatal intensive care unit room environment as a source of microorganisms colonizing the gastrointestinal tract of premature infants

  • Amount $850,000
  • City Berkeley, CA
  • Investigator Jillian Banfield
  • Year 2012
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Microbiology of the Built Environment

This grant supports efforts by Jill Banfield of the University of California, Berkeley and Michael Morowitz, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center 's Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh to study how premature infants-born sterile, separated from their mothers, and isolated in neonatal intensive care units" (NICUs)-nevertheless develop intestinal microbiota necessary for normal human digestion. Preliminary studies suggest that infants acquire the needed microbes from microbes in the NICU, and Banfield, Morowitz and their team will explore that hypothesis. They will conduct comprehensive, next generation high resolution ecological surveys of hospital air and surfaces to link them with microbial colonization of the infant GI tract. The project will involve building a mathematical model for simulating microbial transport within the NICU, which will be used to interpret collected date and make predictions about the efficacy of future interventions.

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