December 18, 2019

Good morning/afternoon all microbiome lovers!

Coming back from 4th Thunen Sumposium on Soil Metagenomics (11-13.12, Germany), the first section of today’s digest will highlight some work emphasized during the conference. Pay special attention to Amy Willis work (UoW) dealing with amplification bias in 16S analyses, among else. You are more than welcome to check the conference and the bioinformatic workshops schedule, as you’ll find interesting, inspiring and useful studies and tools that are relevant even if you’re not working on soil-associated habitats.

Have a great day!

Soil Metagenomics insights

Rigorous Statistical Methods for Rigorous Microbiome Science, Amy Willis, mSystems. I highly recommended to be familiar with the Willis lab works and tools, for all of us working with amplicon-sequencing and metagenomics. Amy was kind enough to upload her conference materials to github, using this link.

Additionally, They just started a bio-statistics blog, so check this as well.

Consistent and correctable bias in metagenomic sequencing experiments, Michael R. McLaren, bioRxiv

Understanding and interpreting community sequencing measurements of the vaginal microbiome, HL Berman, BJOG

These two papers are from Benjamin Callahan group (NCSW). Even though he wasn’t at the conference, his work (et al.) were mentioned several times by other speakers, so I decided to emphasize these two papers.

The MG-RAST API explorer: an on-ramp for RESTful query composition, Tobias Paczian, BMC Bioinformatics. Folker Meyer, one of the developers of MG-RAST and its head, was actually at the conference with a great talk about both MG-RAST and the importance of pipelines and common workflow language in computational biology. Check this link and the MG-RAST API explorer, making it so much simpler to search, filter and efficiently use MG-RAST.

TerrestrialMetagenomeDB: a public repository of curated and standardized metadata for terrestrial metagenomes, Felipe B Correa, bioRxiv. An amazing tool for searching and filtering soil-associated metagenomes in different databases, plus simple codes for downloading. Take a look at more papers from the de-Rocha group.

Human microbiomoe

**Molecular messages in human microbiota, Matthew T. Henke and Jon Clardy, Science

Resident microbes of lactation rooms and daycares, Diana H. Taft, PeerJ

Female genital tract microbiota affecting the risk of preterm birth: What do we know so far? A Review, O. Tsonis, European J OBG & Reproductive Biology

Differences in Fecal Microbiomes and Metabolomes of People With vs Without Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Bile Acid Malabsorption, Ian B. Jeffery, Gastroenterology

Soil and Plant microbiome

Comparison of Microbial Community of Rhizosphere and Endosphere in Kiwifruit, Min-Jung Kim, Plant Patho J.

Soil microbial communities in diverse agroecosystems exposed to the herbicide glyphosate, Ryan M. Kepler, AEM

Soil exposed to silver nanoparticles reveals significant changes in community structure and altered microbial transcriptional profiles, Matthew J. Meier, Env. Pollution

Animal microbiome

Effects of disease, antibiotic treatment and recovery trajectory on the microbiome of farmed seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax), Danila Rosado, Scientific Reports

Microbiome at BioData World West 2017

Last month, from April 26th to April 27th, I attended the BioData World West conference representing GENEWIZ, where I am a Bioinformatics Analyst (developer) working primarily on metagenomics.  The focus of the conference were three major areas: Genomics & Health, Precision Medicine, and Artificial Intelligence.  The conference, in San Francisco, hosted a variety of forward thinking and interdisciplinary organizations ranging from the top academic institutions to big industry players from abroad (Google, Merck, Illumina, etc.) to start ups in AI/tech/biotech/pharma.  The talks and conversations I had there were exciting and educational and the networking opportunities were amazing – I believe a number of collaborations were born there.   You can see details about the conference through this link: BioData World West 2017

My highlighted talks were by Atul Butte (UCSF), Jeff Dean (Google), Ronald Pryzgodski (MVP), Steve Miller (USCF, developed SURPI), Ali Torkamani (Scripps), and Sylvain Costes (NASA).  However, every talk was fascinating in its own way and I’d highly recommend this conference to anyone in this space – I could write 10 posts about what I learned but I’ll focus on the microbiome below.  It seemed everyone loved to talk and learn from each other about microbiome-related science, even the people focused mainly on AI.

In regard to the microbiome, many if not most talks incorporated, mentioned, or focused on the importance of this area of research.  Here are some of my high level notes related to the microbiome:

  • Phenotyping is a big area that we need to develop and are establishing right now.  The microbiome is an aspect of our phenotype and should be considered a distinct biomarker.
  • Mobile / site of study lab and metagenomic techniques are important to develop
  • We need to work together to share our genomic data, including metagenomic data
  • AI can be used to find new information where we never thought to look – this, in my opinion, will have implications in studying the massive network of interactions between microbes but also in discovery of new microbes among other things
  • Steve Miller’s (SURPI) talk was fascinating.  Without going into too many details he is moving forward clinically with using metagenomics for pathogen detection and diagnoses – something I believe will be the future of infectious disease diagnostics (or at least could be used to establish accurate SNP-based panels).  I’d highly recommend following his publications and well as Dr. Chiu.  I believe exciting things are coming from his lab in the next year or so
  • Cannabis microbiome studies are paramount because microbes are the only risk for cannabis – and pesticides typically cannot be used in production

I hope this post was interesting – the conference surely was – I can’t wait to see the advances we’ve made presented there next year!

Edward Messick