Sunday, October 23, 2016

Global Online Office Hours

Global online office hours will be held monthly
through Google Chat.
Interest in the microbiome has continued to skyrocket. It seems like there is a new microbiome commercialization strategy everyday, and more and more scientists are looking to incorporate the microbiome into their research programs. It is certainly an exciting time for the microbiome. Unfortunately the increased demand has been met with a somewhat insufficient supply of information and resources. Of course there are some excellent resources out there, but a lot of people don't have access to a "microbiome researcher" to answer their questions. Sometimes this means newcomers to the field make some crucial mistakes because they are forced to "go it alone". In an effort to generate even more unique resources for all of the microbiome folks out there, I decided to hold Global Online Office Hours.

As the name suggests, these office hours will be held online and are open to anybody in the world. The idea is that anybody who has questions about microbiome research, the current state of the field, a recent study, or anything else, now has an opportunity to ask a real life microbiome researcher. Of course I encourage students to attend, but anybody can join in. This includes academics, industry scientists, journalists, etc.

Right now this is still in the experimental stage. I am trying to evaluate both the level of interest (is this a good idea?) and what the most effective format will be. Right now I am holding monthly office hours through the rest of the year. If there is a lot of interest, I am totally ready to bump it up to more frequent times. I also currently have these scheduled for a fixed time (in my afternoon), which means some time zones will have a hard time attending (i.e. it will be 0300 for some people). So again, if there is interest I will try to stagger my times to allow for more general audience participation.

If this sounds cool and you would like to attend and ask some questions, feel free to read more on the website. I also encourage you to sign up for the Google Group here because that is how I will communicate with the group members (by email).

So that's it for this week. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to let me know in the comments below, on Twitter, by email, or even in office hours! Hope to see you there!

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