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Lab Profile: uBiome, microbiome sequencing made easy

Recently I talked with uBiome, a Science Exchange laboratory that specializes in microbiome sequencing. What makes them spectacular is more than just their sequencing services. It’s their unique perspective on science, the microbiome, and the cycle of research. There are tons of amazing facets to uBiome, but to name a couple:

  • They are the largest crowdfunded citizen science project to date – they raised more than $350,000 on indiegogo.
  • They have a fully automated, scalable robotic next-generation sequencing pipeline that can handle 10,000 samples as easily as 10 samples.

uBiome was founded by Jessica Richman and Zac Apte, who came together to start something different – a place where researchers can work with citizen scientists to create a game-changing dataset of microbial information.

According to Jessica, “We are excited about the process of collaborative citizen science around the microbiome. The idea is to involve the public, ask questions, and include the public in the researcher’s process.”

It’s this approach that helped them amass the largest dataset of human microbiome info. As a result, they can offer something unique to researchers, the chance to compare participants’ data to each other.

“If you’re studying anything, from heart disease to autism, we can sample and sequence your participants and compare them to our dataset. If researchers are sampling something that’s not one of our existing sites, we can still sequence anything they’re interested in – feet, noses, worms, animals, environmental samples, anything that has bacteria on it. We can run those through our pipeline and give data back about what’s in them,” said Jessica Richman.

They make the process as simple as possible for the researcher. They can be hands on and take care of sample collection, participant surveys, and sequencing. Or they can leave the details to the researchers and simply sequence the samples in their lab. In addition, researchers can compare their samples with groups of interest in the uBiome dataset.

uBiome is making is making microbiome sequencing easier than ever. Check out their services on Science Exchange.

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Tess Mayall

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