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Microbiologists Will Watch As Bacteria Take Over This Hospital

We often think of the world around us as sterile and static, especially when we are in a hospital. In reality, every surface on earth is literally teeming with millions of bacteria.

Jack Gilbert, a microbiologist from the University of Chicago, has spent his career investigating these invisible companions all around us. This year, Gilbert and a group of microbiologists will take over a brand new hospital in an experiment called the "Hospital Microbiome."

The goal of "Hospital Microbiome" is to try to see what microbes and viruses will move in to the hospital and how patients and hospital staff affect the variety of microbes that live in the hospital. Gilbert and his team will track the bacteria in the hospital before it opens and as it starts accepting staff and patients.

This data will help hospital administration, doctors, nurses, and researchers get a better understanding of how these bacteria and viruses make their way around a hospital, sometimes causing dangerous infections in the patients.

We asked Gilbert to explain the project and what they are hoping to find out from this hospital, below is an edited and condensed version of our conversation.
 
 

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