Professor Katrine L. Whiteson, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, joined other U.S. scientists Friday, May 13 at an event hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology, to announce a new National Microbiome Initiative to foster the integrated study of microbiomes across different ecosystems. Microbiomes are the communities of microorganisms that live on or in people, plants, soil, oceans, and the atmosphere and help maintain healthy function of these diverse ecosystems. The White House event brought attention to efforts to advance microbiome research in areas such as healthcare, food safety and security, environmental protection and bioenergy production.