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uBiome -- Sequencing Your Microbiome

World's FIRST citizen science project to sequence the human microbiome. Available INTERNATIONALLY in 196 countries. Learn about your health & change the world!

In partnership with
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Signup for ubiome at ubiome.com

If you have a kit, you can register it at register.ubiome.com

Quick Summary

uBiome is a citizen science project that allows the public access to cutting edge sequencing technology to understand their microbiome.

How does the microbiome affect me? We are all covered in trillions of microbes -- in fact, they outnumber human cells 10:1. The trillions of bacteria live on and in us are collectively called the microbiome.

Like the rainforest, the healthy human microbiome is a balanced ecosystem. The correct balance of microbes keeps potential pathogens in check and regulates our immune system. Microbes also perform essential functions such as digesting food and synthesizing vitamins. Studies have also linked the microbiome to human mood and behavior, as well as many gut disorders, eczema, and chronic sinusitis.

Many studies have been done, but they haven't been done with YOUR data, yet.

Using techniques used in the NIH’s $173 million dollar Human Microbiome Project, we can tell you what microbes are living in your body, compare you to others, and keep you up to date on research that applies to your data.

What can I learn from this? You can see how your personal microbiome correlates with others, and how it correlates with actions you take. (With the uBiome Delta^5 kit, for example, you can sample all 5 areas at 5 timepoints and see how your microbiome responds to your experiments. For the more budget conscious, Quantified uBiome allows you to sample just your GI tract at 3 time points.) This kind of citizen science has never been done before, so we can't say: "Eat x, and your microbiome will be perfect!" However, we hope to provide as useful and actionable data as possible.

How does it work? We send you a kit, you take a sample (painless, easy, and simple) and answer a scientific survey. We then send you a link to our website where we tell you what's in your gut (and/or nose, mouth, ear, genitals), how it correlates to other people in our sample, and relevant scientific studies that relate to your profile. (And, yes, the GI tract sample is poo from your toilet paper.)

uBiome Offer


Citizen Science, Data, and International Outreach


We will involve the public in not just collecting the samples, but in analyzing the data, generating and testing hypotheses, and doing as much official "science" as possible. We want this to be the first shot in a revolution in how science is done around the world.

Your data is open to the world... if you choose. Your data is yours -- you can download it, share it, do whatever you want with it. We encourage you to opt-in to share your data with our scientists, but we respect your privacy and will not force you to do so. The data is also anonymized and private.

We are also passionate about involving the rest of the world in our project, as we feel strongly that non-Americans are underrepresented in traditional research. We welcome participants from 196 countries and also offer our uBiome Philanthropist perk which will also send a kit to our research partners in the developing world. (If you are concerned about shipping outside the US, please know that we have done a lot of work to understand the shipping regulations and are confident that we can ship to you. If, for some reason this is not possible, we will refund your money.)

If you are interested in a private experiment designed by our scientists, please consider our uBiome Sponsor level. For the same amount, you can also donate kits so that others can participate in uBiome. We will sign up 150 people who cannot afford their own kits! Help us increase access to scientific research. Please contact us for details. If you have any questions, email us at info@ubiome.com.

Help us spread the word about uBiome!

If you have ideas for media, mailing lists, newsletters, or people who might be interested in sponsorships, partnerships or the like, please email us at ideas@ubiome.com.


Selected Press and Comments

Scientific AmericanBoing Boing   Wired    Venture Beat  NPRHuffington Post


I'm having my microbiome sequenced with uBiome. It's a glimpse of the future.
Tim Ferriss

Really cool biohacking project -- please support them!
Dave Asprey, Bulletproof Executive

This will be provide a much needed new set of biomarkers for conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease and IBS. I bought the kit to contribute to uBiome's citizen science drive.
Larry Smarr

uBiome is looking to take the next leap in sequencing the human microbiome. Where the Human Microbiome Project sequenced around 250 people, uBiome is looking for a sample size in the thousands.
Wired

The "quantified self" movement might need a new name...Do people who drink a lot of coffee have a different form of bacteria than those who don't? Do people with a certain disease tend to lack a species found in most other people?
MIT Technology Review


We ship to 196 countries -- including yours!

Just add $12 for one-way international shipping to your order.

If you are concerned about shipping internationally, please rest assured that we have researched our international shipping procedures extensively and there is no problem with sending these samples back and forth. Of course, if, for some reason, we cannot ship to your country, we will give you a full refund.


Help advance science

We can ask how the microbiome is involved in common unsolved diseases like diabetes, depression, and hypertension (based on the prevalence of these diseases in the US population). When you join uBiome, you'll be able to crowdsource your own questions of the uBiome contributors. For example, one contributor asked, "How does the microbiome change when I follow a paleo diet?" With your help, we can find out!

 


Explore your body

The microbiome may be as important to human wellness as the human genome, but unlike the genome, you can change your microbiome. Because of this amazing potential, understanding the microbiome has become one of the most important scientific inquiries of our time. What are all these microbes and how do they affect us? 

We’re just beginning to learn the effects our microbiome has on us, but one thing is very clear: it’s incredibly important to functioning of the human body. Certain species help digest food; some synthesize vitamins; others guide the immune system. Over a third of the bioactive molecules in our blood are produced by microorganisms. These molecules are things like caffeine, alcohol, aspirin, drugs, hormones, and neurotransmitters. They have potent effects on every aspect of our metabolism and behavior. 

Researchers have correlated diabetes, obesity, heart disease, tooth decay, chronic sinusitis, depression, and anxiety to diverse organisms within the microbiome. You have a different microbiome in your mouth, your sinuses, your ears, your gut, your genitals, and on your skin. Often, it’s not the individual species that matter but the diversity of the ecosystem. Just as the ecosystem of the tropical rainforest depends upon diversity, our own microbiome appears to benefit from the presence of a wide range of beneficial microbes. 


Explore the microbiome

Once we have sequenced your samples, our team will analyze the results to explore scientific research questions such as how the microbiome influences human health and disease. We'll also crowdsource our research questions: you will be able to design your own experiments. We'll use the uBiome data set to answer your questions.

In return for your pledge, you get your own personal microbiome data as well as some cool analysis and visualization tools that will let you compare yourself to published health and disease studies. Scientists have already made important discoveries about how the composition of the microbiome relates to diseases like obesity, tooth decay, and chronic sinusitis. We'll give you this information and help you to see how your microbiome compares with others, interpret the scientific literature, and empower you to understand the latest research about microbiomes like yours.  


How it works

Our sample kit contains everything you need to swab and submit your human microbiome. Whether for your mouth, ears, nose, GI tract or genitalia, your kit will allow you to learn more about your human microbiome. You pledge and we send you a sample kit. You swipe the sample brush across the corresponding sample site and send the kit back to us.

Each sample kit has been carefully designed by our scientific team to enable us to extract and sequence microbial DNA from the human body. After swiping the sample site, the cells are lysed in solution and sent to our laboratory for processing.

The uBiome Sample Kit

uBiome Sample Brush

 


Data visualization

Once we've sequenced your sample, we'll send you your results and a login to our website where you can visualize and understand your data. As a uBiome community member you find out about our latest discoveries first, participate in ongoing citizen science projects, and suggest new questions that we can address together.

uBiome Visualizes Your Data


Your privacy

uBiome will never release any of your personal identifying data. We will never even store your data in such a way that anyone could figure out who you are from it.

Why Indiegogo?

Through citizen science, you can have direct involvement in the latest research. We are reaching out on Indiegogo in order to build a community of citizen scientists who want to unlock the mysteries of the human microbiome.

Use of funds

Your pledge funds will be used to sequence your sample, analyze the results, and develop the uBiome community. This includes purchasing reagents (primers, buffers, enzymes) for sequencing, running the equipment, performing bioinformatics and statistical analysis, setting up and running the website, and renting our lab space in the QB3@UCSF biotech startup garage.


Who should participate in uBiome?

Everyone! skinny, fat, sick, healthy, Coke, Pepsi, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, babies, grandmothers, lactose intolerant, gluten allergic, happy, sad, smoker, drinker, bald, vegan, smelly, bad breath, brown hair, blue eyes, blue hair, brown eyes, Atkins diet, high carb diet, sleepy, gassy, anxious, horny, asexual, smart, dyslexic, gorgeous, pregnant, and completely average. Babies, older people, women, men... everyone!

We ship almost anywhere in the world and will analyze anyone's microbiome. Even yours.

The more people and the more diversity we have, the more power we have as a group... statistically speaking of course.


Perks

uBiome Perks


About us

uBiome Team

Jessica Richman

Jessica Richman started and sold her first company after high school. Returning to formal education, she attended Stanford University, where she earned degrees in Economics and interdisciplinary engineering (emphasis in computer science). Along the way, she worked for Google, McKinsey, Lehman Brothers, the Grameen Bank, and top-tier Silicon Valley venture firms. Currently a DPhil student at Oxford University, her academic interests include network science, innovation, collective intelligence, and entrepreneurship.

Dr. Zachary Apte

Dr. Apte is a biophysicist, inventor, and entrepreneur dedicated to finding creative, unique solutions to intractable problems facing the world. Trained in both theoretical high-energy physics and cell biology, he holds a PhD in biophysics from UCSF. Previously, he was the founder of DesignBreak, connecting scientists and engineers with the developing world. He also conducted initial research and development for the project that became the first published carbon emissions rating label in North America.

Dr. William Ludington

Dr. Ludington is an independent investigator and a Bowes Fellow in the Molecular Cell Biology department at the University of California, Berkeley. He specializes in the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of gut microbiota and their effects on host behavior using metagenomic approaches. Before receiving his PhD in cell biology from the University of California, San Francisco, he attended Stanford University, where he studied ecology and conservation biology.


Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Joseph DeRisi

A MacArthur Genius Award Winner, Dr. DeRisi is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator and a Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Pablo Valenzuela

Co-Founder of Chiron Pharmaceuticals and the author of hundreds of scientific papers, Dr. Valenzuela is a leading biotechnologist and former professor at the University of California, San Francisco.



Dr. Liam Holt

Dr. Holt is an independent investigator and Bowes Fellow at UC Berkeley, who runs the Holt Lab, investigating signaling mechanisms in communities of microbes.

Dr. Meghana Gadgil MD

Internal Medicine resident at Stanford University Medical School, has studied microbial transmission and handwashing in India.

Sebastian Bernales

Dr. Sebastian Bernales

Director of Research and Development at Medivation, a publicly traded pharmaceutical company, as well as a research fellow at an Ciencias de la Vida in Chile.

 


FAQ

Please see the FAQ at ubiome.com/pages/faq


uBiome in Other Languages

Portugues

A uBiome, lançou recentemente o primeiro esforço, á escala mundial, com ajuda dos cidadãos, para mapear o microbioma humano (ver link: www.indiegogo.com/ubiome). O microbioma é composto por triliões de bactérias que vivem dentro de nós. Estudos relacionaram desequilíbrios do microbioma com problemas de autismo, depressão, ansiedade, assim como problemas intestinais, eczema, e sinusite crónica. Quanto maior for a nossa amostra de pesquisa mais poderemos fazer avançar a ciência e o conhecimento.

Até agora, a empresa uBiome, já recebeu mais de 130.000 dólares em crowdfunding, de mais de mil e cem investidores de todo o mundo, foi noticia destacada na Wired magazine, Sicentific American, BoingBoing, Los Angeles Times, MIT Technology Review, e muitos mais. Junte-se a nós em www.indiegogo.com/ubiome!

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