Microbiology of the Built Environment

Photo Credit: K. Seifert © Her Majesty the Queen in the Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

A common component of house dust, Aspergillus glaucus thrives in low-moisture environments, making it ideally suited to the dry indoor spaces build by humans.

Program Goal

To grow a new multidisciplinary field of scientific inquiry focused on understanding the microbial ecology of the built environments where people work, live, and play.


  • Generate new knowledge by directly supporting original, high-quality research on the microbial ecology of the built environment.
  • Build a thriving, multidisciplinary network and research community of biologists, engineers, architects, and technologists that will endure beyond the program’s timeline.
  • Train the next generation of scholars and practitioners. An important component of this program is introducing new voices into the field and training the next generation of researchers.
  • Develop community-wide research and data collection protocols, and norms.
  • Advance capacity for discovery through development of new tools and resources for data collection, sampling, analysis, and visualization.
  • Attract dedicated funding from federal agencies by demonstrating the existence of important gaps in our scientific knowledge and the potential for federal intervention to fill them.


Interested scholars should submit a letter of inquiry of no more than two pages to program director Paula J. Olsiewski.