Penn State Global serves to broadly lead, advance, and support the university's global engagement. The office provides the specialized knowledge, expertise, and services to facilitate global programs, initiatives, and partnerships. This presentation focuses on supporting multidisciplinary research via global partnerships 

Speakers: Sabine Klahr & Alexandra Persiko  |  Penn State Global

The more we learn about the human microbiome—bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoans that live on and in the human body and their genetic material—the more our view of humans is being challenged. Instead, we are invited to reconceptualized the human being as a superorganism and the human body as an ecosystem. This poses unique ethical, social, and legal questions, including how integral is the microbiome to our conception of self? How does knowledge about microbiome impact what we think it means to be healthy? To what extent do we own our microbes, and should our microbiome information be shared with healthcare providers or insurance companies? Who has the rights to benefit?


Jennifer Wagner  | Law, Policy, and Engineering

Emily Davenport  | Biology


Laura Weyrich  | Anthropology and Bioethics

In this special edition of the Millennium Café, we will have a panel discussion with researchers from different disciplines to consider the ethical, social, legal and cultural implications of innovative biomedical research for patients, people, animals, and populations. We will specifically discuss the human microbiome with panel experts and the audience.

Humans are colonized by highly diverse communities of microbes which shape our health. While diversity is correlated with health, it is often not clear why. This Bisanz lab uses lab-built microbial communities and germ-free animal models to understand the mechanisms through which diverse microbes interact with each other and the host. We seek to conduct mechanistic research with real world applications. Current research includes how healthy gut microbes impact resistance to infectious disease, pharmaceutical therapy, and exposure to environmental chemicals.

Presenter: Jordan Bisanz  |  Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

I will highlight recent advances in our group in the engineering of functional, topographically-, and chemically-patterned polymer coatings via light-mediated surface-initiated polymerization. Oxygen tolerance, mild reaction conditions, and the use of visible light make this approach user-friendly in its application for the design of e.g., anti-microbial surfaces, anti-fogging coatings, and organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs).

Presenter: Christian Pester  |  Chemical Engineering

The Energy and Environmental Sustainability Laboratories (EESL) is a University-wide core user facility managed by the Institutes of Energy and the Environment. Emerging contaminants of varied types are pervasive in the modern world and this talk will introduce the expertise and capabilities available within EESL. Past and current projects involving per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) analyses will be used to highlight the lab’s capabilities.

Speaker: Hlengilizwe Nyoni | EESL Environmental Contaminants Analytical Laboratory