Dead bodies are not completely dead. Bacteria and insects live on and near corpses, and what kind of organisms are there can tell scientists lots of useful things, including how long a body has been dead. To learn from what’s called the “microbiome,” though, researchers need access, unfortunately, to dead bodies, and the more recent, the better. Bodies that are donated to research institutions are kept in cold storage for long periods of time which means the results are different.
A partnership between Michigan State University and the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s office will help researchers learn more about the microbiome of the dead.
Current State’s Melissa Benmark speaks with MSU’s Eric Benbow about the program. He’s an Assistant Professor of Entomology and Osteopathic Medical Specialties.