What is PreMiEr?
PreMiEr is a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, USA. Other partners include North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T), North Carolina State University (NCSU), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC-C), as well as members of industry and other educational institutions.
PreMiEr’s vision is to develop an integrated framework for enabling the development of high impact microbiome technologies that provide innovative solutions to key societal challenges at the interface of human health and the built environment. In particular, PreMiEr will advance microbiome technologies by developing diagnostic tools and engineering approaches that lead to the prevention of infectious agents’ colonization and the promotion of beneficial microorganisms in the built environment.
Researchers in PreMiEr will achieve their goals through cross-disciplinary efforts using the latest technologies in genomic, transcriptomic, and metabolomic technologies to study the microbial “dark matter” that colonizes the built environment, develop sensors and other technologies to monitor and modify those communities, and create sophisticated computer models to help predict the outcomes of changes to the built environment microbiome and drive beneficial health outcomes.
PreMiEr seeks to help identify not only what might make a built environment microbiome harmful to inhabitants, but also hopes to identify organisms, metabolites, or other factors that lead to positive health outcomes. Our ultimate goal is to create biologically safe indoor spaces for everyone. The findings of this center could ultimately lead to recommendations for building design, construction, or operation in order to promote the proliferation of healthy microorganisms in man-made structures.