This grant to professor Rob Knight and Pieter Dorrenstein at the University of California San Diego funds efforts to develop and disseminate techniques for 3D mapping of the microbiology and metabolism of built environments. Knight and Dorrenstein will use commodity scanning and motion capture systems to build 3D models of built environments, track microbial movement through a room, and identify hundreds of swab locations in 3D space automatically. They also plan to upgrade QIITA (https://qiita.ucsd.edu/), the open source microbial study management platform, to include “living data” concepts from the Global Natural products Social Network (GNPS), allowing re-annotation of MoBE datasets and connection of 3D maps with microbes and molecules from thousands of other studies. They will also produce scans of at least eight visually and scientifically compelling built environments.
To reach these objectives, the University of California, San Diego, team plans to develop and disseminate improved integrated software tools. They will produce a pipeline and kit for collecting datasets and producing 3D maps, which will then be tested by MoBE community members. They expect to create a set of visually and technically compelling maps of built environmental spaces in 3D, with sequence and metabolite information. They plan to share the information online through websites, blogs, and conference presentations. They plan to train at least 30 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty and/or research staff through two workshops. Knight and Dorrenstein will share their research and findings through peer-reviewed publications. The expected outcome of this proposal is new, high-quality 3D maps of built environments that help future funders and stakeholders better visualize and understand the microbiology of the built environment.