In the News

The man who can map the chemicals all over your body (Nature)

Pieter Dorrestein uses mass spectrometry to eavesdrop on the molecular conversations between microbes and their world. To produce the image, researchers swabbed every surface in the room, including the people, several hundred times, then analysed the swabs with mass spectrometry to identify the chemicals present.

New 3-D visualization tool could enable targeted drug delivery for cystic fibrosis and other conditions

Researchers have developed the first 3D spatial visualization tool for mapping "'omics" data onto whole organs. The tool helps researchers and clinicians understand the effects of chemicals, such as microbial metabolites and medications, on a diseased organ.

A swab of your smartphone can yield tons of information about your lifestyle (CNBC)

Everywhere we go, we slough off skin cells, leaving traces of ourselves and our habits — the food we eat and the drugs we take, among other things — on things we touch. It also means that unlocking these chemical trails from these common objects could be key to solving criminal cases in the future.

See CNBC, New York Times, Washington Post, CNN.

Body maps reveal the bacteria and chemicals lurking on skin (CNN)

The bacteria and chemicals found on human skin have been sampled and mapped across the human body. The result is a series of 3-D images revealing the thousands of microbes and molecules people carry with them -- or on them -- each day.

Molecular mapping made easy

Standardised, freely available method raising interest in forensics, agriculture and microbiome studies. Every day, every inch of skin on your body comes into contact with thousands of molecules -- from food, cosmetics, sweat, the microbes that call your skin home. Now researchers can create interactive 3-D maps that show where each molecule lingers on your body.

For Cystic Fibrosis Lung Infections, How Well Antibiotics Work May be Affected by pH, Oxygen

Researchers discovered that tweaking other factors in a CF lung model, such as pH balance and oxygen, helped eradicate pathogenic bacteria while minimising risks of antibiotic resistance and overgrowth of other microorganisms.

Crowdsourcing the transformation of mass spectrometry big data into scientific living data

In a landmark paper published in the August issue of Nature Biotechnology, 127 scientists from a consortium of universities and research labs in the U.S. and worldwide report for the first time on the establishment of an online, crowdsourced knowledge base and workbench that could be a game-changer for the study of natural products that could potentially be useful in the development of the next antibiotic, better pesticides, or more effective cancer drugs.

White House Invites UCSD Scientists to Discuss Microbiomes (NBC San Diego, May 2016)

Microbiomes are microorganisms that live on and in people, plants, soil, oceans and the atmosphere and can influence human health, climate change and food security.

Several UC San Diego researchers spoke at the White House Friday in an effort to advance the understanding of microbiomes. The White House announced a new National Microbiome Initiative Friday to better understand microbiomes and to develop tools to protect and restore healthy microbiome function.

Do Seas Make Us Sick? Surfers May Have the Answer (New York Times 2017)

Mr. Kapono, a 29-year-old biochemist earning his doctorate at the University of California, San Diego, heads up the Surfer Biome Project, a unique effort to determine whether routine exposure to the ocean alters the microbial communities of the body, and whether those alterations might have consequences for surfers — and for the rest of us.

Surfing the world for microbes

Surfer, ocean steward and chemistry doctoral student Cliff Kapono begins his worldwide expedition this fall to discover if surfers have a unique microbiome, and if so, how these marine bacteria and chemicals impact human health.

Scientists Visualize How Bacteria Talk to One Another

Using imaging mass spectrometry, researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed tools that will enable scientists to visualize how different cell populations of cells communicate. Their study shows how bacteria talk to one another – an understanding that may lead to new therapeutic discoveries for diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes and allergies.

New ‘Genome Mining’ Technique Streamlines Discovery from Nature

A newly developed method for microscopically extracting, or “mining,” information from genomes could represent a significant boost in the search for new therapeutic drugs and improve science’s understanding of basic functions such as how cells communicate with one another.