Now Viewing: Infectious diseases

What’s Next Health: Microbiomes Where we Live, Work, Learn and Play

Sep 4, 2013, 12:30 PM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Jessica Green

Each month, What’s Next Health talks with leading thinkers about the future of health and health care. Recently, we talked with Jessica Green, founding director of the BioBE (Biology and the Built Environment Center), to explore how a better understanding of the microbiome in our built environment might lead to healthier buildings and healthier lives.

By Jessica Green

We’ve known for some time about the invisible microbes in us and around us—small organisms including viruses, bacteria and fungi. There was a time when most believed that these microbes were all bad for us. After all, they were the ones responsible for getting us sick. But now, we know that many microbes are either benign or actually beneficial to us.

As a nuclear engineer, I had experience modeling things I couldn’t see. When I learned people were modeling biological systems showing how microbes interact with each other—systems we know as microbiomes—and using big data to understand them and how they affect us, I was immediately intrigued. When I thought about microbes in the context of my interest in conservation and biodiversity, I became hooked. And I am not alone. This is a rapidly growing field and through our collective work, we have been learning more and more about the potential of microbiomes to be agents of health, especially in their work to support vital functions in and on the body. Now we are also starting to examine and rethink how microbes move among us and our surroundings and what this means for how we design our built environments.

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Hack-a-Thon for "Unmentionable" Issues in Adolescent Health

Mar 13, 2012, 1:12 AM, Posted by Pioneer Blog Team

Calling all app developers! On March 31, ISIS, TechSoup and Health 2.0 are teaming up for a free, live hack-a-thon event in San Francisco to design apps to address youth health-related “unmentionable” activities, including dating violence, depression, sexually transmitted diseases and substance use. The event, sponsored by an RWJF grant, aims to create apps that will excite young people to share honest, real-time, private information about their taboo, embarrassing or “unmentionable” activities with researchers and program experts who work with youth.

The hack-a-thon will bring together developers, designers, innovators and entrepreneurs for rapid development of progressive concepts and prototypes to be developed by the participating teams following the event and at future hack-a-thons. ISIS and TechSoup will partner in the future development and distribution of the concepts and designs. The grand prize winner will be revealed at ISIS’ annual Sex::Tech conference and take home $1,000 cash.

Interested? Register now.

Pioneer Grantees Top RWJF's Most Influential Research Articles of 2011

Jan 31, 2012, 8:57 AM, Posted by Brian C. Quinn

And the winner is …

We were quite proud and excited by the recent news that the work of two Pioneer Portfolio grantees placed first and second in the Most Influential RWJF Research Articles of 2011, as announced by David Colby, vice president of research and evaluation at RWJF, in January’s Evidence Matters.  

Coming in at number one, The Use of Twitter to Track Levels of Disease Activity and Public Concern in the U.S. During the Influenza A H1N1 Pandemic, published in May’s PLoS ONE. Dr. Phil Polgreen and colleagues at the University of Iowa monitored disease activity during the H1N1 outbreak by analyzing public messages or "tweets" on Twitter. The study established a model for monitoring disease outbreaks in real time.

Second place went to Project ECHO’s Outcomes of Treatment for Hepatitis C Virus Infection by Primary Care Providers, published in June’s New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Sanjeev Arora and colleagues demonstrated that through Project ECHO’s transformative model of health education and delivery, primary care providers can be trained via video communications and real-time, case-based learning to manage complex chronic conditions formerly outside their expertise, thus expanding their ability to bring better care to more people in their own communities. By putting the best available medical knowledge into the hands of everyday clinical practitioners, Project ECHO exponentially expands the capacity of the health care workforce to provide high-quality care in local communities.

Congratulations to these grantees for their influential and innovative work to transform health and health care. We’re proud to call you part of the Pioneer family.

And a big thank you to all who voted or helped spread the word about these and the other great research articles in 2011’s top 25 list. You can still join in the conversation by using #Final_5 on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to discuss the winners and congratulate all the grantees who participated.

While you’re reviewing the Most Influential Research Articles of 2011, take a look at the top three most viewed Pioneering Ideas blog posts from 2011:

We look forward to exploring more pioneering ideas with you in 2012 and highlighting the important work of our grantees. Keep checking back or better yet, sign up to receive Pioneer’s content and funding alerts and future Pioneering Ideas posts.