I asked a couple of people for feedback on the proposal. Because they didn't post their comments on the site, I thought that I would share what they said here.
Colleague 1 (building scientist):
I took a quick look at the proposal (don't have a ton of time to edit until mid-Jul, unfortunately). The antibiotic and disinfectant resistance genes are interesting.
Are there any factors you can think of that you can measure regarding the animals, that could help explain any variability in the data? Will you focus on animals that have just arrived, or that have been there for a while? I think there may be a difference…Should document the cleaning practices, how often chemicals are used, how much, what are the ventilation rates, probably best to measure RH near surface and in middle of room after cleaning, what are the exercise practices for the animals?
That's all I can think of at the moment! Looks great :-)
Colleague 2 (veterinarian and expert in shelter animal medicine):
Suggests change in title to: Characterization of the microbial communities occurring on surfaces in an animal shelter
Comment 1: Would love to see this take on the additional angle of building/housing design differences. It's been our experience that once the basics of vaccination and a decent cleaning/disinfection protocol is in place then the greatest differences in population health/ animal well being in animal shelters are due to LOS and housing (housing type and environment (noise/hvac, etc)).
Comment 2: Disease transmission is a concern more because of the demographics of the population served (naive population etc)
Comment 3: Not sure how in depth you want/need to go on the intro for this pilot project seems broad in scope.
Comment 4: This is a good descriptive paragraph (final paragraph in introduction). I don’t know anything about genes that promote persistence in the environment- perhaps more info there. Do you have hypotheses?
Comment 5 in response to "This study will help in the development of strategies to manage the development of antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance in an intensive housing environment." How? Unless you were comparing differing strategies- cleaning methods, disinfectant use, housing type etc within the same environment. This study will help understand the presence or absence and quantitative information of whatever you are looking for but not sure how much further you can go with this project.
Jesse Spaulding: I just want to note that none of the collaborators on the project received an email notification when you posted this. The post will still appear in their ThinkLab inbox however. I'm still trying to figure out the best system of notifications.