SOIL’s Jimmy Louis at Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Jimmy Louis performing a DNA Extraction at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

As DNA Everywhere begins a 12-month routine monitoring program exploring the microbial community interactions of SOIL’s compost, Jimmy Louis, Port au Prince’s Sanitation Coordinator came to visit DNA Everywhere and the Thermopile Project at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. On the way to the airport, Jimmy shipped 18 DNA samples he had extracted from SOIL’s compost just days before and raced them to California. Jimmy conducted all the downstream processing of the samples alongside DNA Everywhere Project Manager, Gabby Pecora.

“Jimmy picked up the DNA extractions so quickly when Gary and I were in Haiti. We were thrilled to have him at LBL and are so confident in his ability to teach others how to perform the extractions when he gets back. He’s such a natural in the lab!” said Pecora, “I’m really glad that Jimmy had the opportunity to work at LBL and see what we do with the samples he sends us. I think being able to be in the lab, running PhyloChips really helps close the loop and conceptualize the whole system.”

Jimmy Louis and CalRecycle’s Reinhard Hohlwein talking “compost” at the Thermopile Pile Build on May 3, 2014

The 18 samples were brought to PhyloChip within the two weeks Louis spent in California and he participated in the preliminary analysis of the results. “Jimmy learned very quickly and I think he will be a valuable resource to have back there in Haiti as we continue with this project. We have a lot more work to do for analysis of these samples but it is clear that the DNA extraction that was done there worked perfectly and that gives us a lot of confidence as we go forward.” said Dr. Gary Andersen.

In addition to participating in the downstream processing of the SOIL DNA samples, Louis participated in a Thermopile compost pile build with the help of the Ignacio Rotary Club and taught 7 members of the Club how to extract bacterial DNA from compost. “We are so glad Jimmy could come up here and successfully take what we had taught him and be able to teach the Rotary members how to perform very successful DNA extractions on their first attempt.” said DNA Everywhere Project Director, John Hulls, “This demonstrates complete technology transfer within DNA Everywhere.”

Jimmy Louis and Gabby Pecora discussing PhyloChip data from the first 18 DNA samples shipped from Haiti at Lawrence Berkeley Lab

Jimmy’s trip was a huge success and we look forward to our ongoing partnership with the SOIL organization. A big thank you for your support!