Consensus Report

Microbiomes of the Built Environment: A Research Agenda for Indoor Microbiology, Human Health, and Buildings (2017)

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

People in developed countries spend the vast majority of their time indoors. That time is shared with a large and diverse community of microorganisms that find their way into homes, workplaces, schools, and other buildings. Research on indoor environments, microorganisms, and human health has been conducted for decades, but new molecular tools and collaborative efforts that bridge microbiology, engineering, architecture, and public health are generating a deeper understanding of the complex interactions among human occupants, built environments, and associated microbial communities. This report assesses the current state of this knowledge, identifies knowledge gaps, and outlines a research agenda for filling these gaps.