Prof. Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, Professor at Rutgers University

Dr. Dominguez-Bello focuses on the microbiome development from birth, functions for the host, impact by practices that reduce microbial transmission or disrupt the microbiota, and strategies for restoration. She also studies how Westernization changes environmental microbes and human exposures, integrating the fields of anthropology and architecture/urban studies into microbial ecology.

Field: Assembly of the microbiome in babies, effect of perturbations, effect of Westernization

Rob Knight, Professor at University California San Diego

Rob Knight is the co-founder of the American Gut Project and of the Earth Microbiome Project. His lab’s research involves the development of state-of-the-art laboratory and computational techniques to characterize the microbiomes of humans, animals, and the environment.

Field: Large scale microbiome analysis

Jack Gilbert, Professor at University of Chicago

Jack Gilbert’s research is focused on the ecology, evolution, and metabolic dynamics of microbial ecosystems from myriad environments including built environments, oceans, rivers, soils, air, plants, animals, and humans. His primary interest is in using omics technologies to capture longitudinal dynamics in microbial ecosystems.

Field: Multi-omics analysis of microbial ecosystems

Richard J. Roberts, Chief Scientific Officer at New England Biolabs

Sir Richard John Roberts is a biochemist and molecular biologist. He was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Phillip Allen Sharp for the discovery of introns in eukaryotic DNA and the mechanism of gene-splicing. His current research interests focus on enzyme discovery using bioinformatics, combined with the experimental testing of function.

Field: Enzymology, bacterial genomics, DNA methylation

Martin Blaser, Professor at New York University

Martin J. Blaser is the Muriel and George Singer Professor of Translational Medicine and Professor of Microbiology at New York University School of Medicine. A physician and microbiologist, his research has centered on the relationship of humans and bacteria, both as foes and friends. He has served as the Chair of Medicine at NYU, as President of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and now as Chair of PACCARB (Presidential Advisory Council for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria). His award-winning book for general audiences about our changing microbiota, Missing Microbes, has been translated into 20 languages.

Field: Effects of antibiotics on the human microbiome

Manuel Fankhauser, Chief Scientific Officer at Seerave Foundation

Manuel Fankhauser is Chief Scientific Officer at Seerave Foundation, an independent family foundation that aspires to broaden and enhance the Standard of Care for cancer patients, with the underlying conviction that more benign approaches can be developed to treat cancers and other illnesses by modulating the nutrition / microbiome / metabolite / immune system axis. Dr. Fankhauser holds a PhD in bioengineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), where he worked on understanding the role of lymphatics in shaping anti-tumor immune responses. 

Field: Global scientific collaboration in the tumor immunology and microbiome space

Marc LaForce, Clinical Professor of Medicine at NYU Langone School of Medicine

Marc LaForce directed directed the Meningitis Vaccine Project (MVP), a partnership between the WHO and PATH, established in 2001 through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with the mission to eliminate epidemic meningitis as a public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa through the development, testing, introduction, and widespread use of conjugate meningococcal vaccines. Before joining PATH, Dr. LaForce held academic and senior administrative positions at the University of Colorado and the University of Rochester Schools of Medicine.

Field: Global health, large scale vaccinations

Dominique Caugant, Professor at Norwegian Institute of Public Health

Dominique A. Caugant is Chief Scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and Head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Meningococci, Oslo, Norway. She has been Adjunct Professor at the University of Oslo since 1999, presently at the Section for International Health, Faculty of Medicine. Her main fields of research are population genetics and molecular epidemiology of pathogenic bacteria.

Field: Bacterial genetics and molecular epidemiology

Keiji Fukuda, Director and Clinical Professor at University of Hong Kong, School of Public Health

Professor Fukuda has extensive public health experience at global and national levels. During 2005 – 2016, he was a staff member of the World Health Organization (WHO) and held positions as Scientist, Coordinator and then Director of the Global Influenza Programme (2005-2008), Assistant Director-General for Health Security and Environment ad interim (2008-2009), Special Adviser on Pandemic Influenza to the Director-General (2009-2010), Assistant Director-General for Health Security (2010-2015) and Special Representative for Antimicrobial Resistance for the Director-General (2015-2016). Previous to WHO, he worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as Epidemiology Section Chief, Influenza Branch and Medical Epidemiologist, Viral Exanthems and Herpesvirus Branch.

Field: Public health

James J. Heckman, Professor at University of Chicago

James J. Heckman is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Public Policy and Director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago. He has devoted his professional life to understanding the origins of major social and economic questions related to inequality, social mobility, discrimination, and the formation of skills and regulation in labor markets, as well as to devising and applying economically interpretable empirical strategies for understanding and addressing these questions.  Heckman is the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics, the John Bates Clark Medal, the Jacob Mincer Award, the Dennis Aigner Award, the Ulysses Medal, the Theodore W. Schultz Award, the Gold Medal of the President of the Italian Republic, the Frisch Medal, the Dan David Prize, and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Economic Association.

Field: Economics

Claire Fraser, Professor at University of Maryland

A pioneer and global leader in genomic medicine, Dr. Fraser is one of the most highly cited investigators in microbiology. In 1995, Dr. Fraser was the first to map the complete genetic code of a free-living organism—Haemophilus influenza—the bacterium that causes lower respiratory tract infections and meningitis in infants and young children. Her discovery forever changed microbiology and launched a new field of study—microbial genomics.

Field: Microbial genomics

Tore Midtvedt, Professor Emeritus at Karolinska Institutet

Tore Midtvedt has been a Lecturer in Medical Microbiology, Department of Bacteriology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway since 1961-1963. He wa a Visiting Scientist in the Department of Germfree Research, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden from 1963-1966, Lecturer in Bacteriological Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway since 1966-1969. He was an Associated Professor in Medical Microbiology, University of Oslo since 1973-1982. He Professor in Medical Microbiology, University of Oslo, Norway since 1982-1983. He was a Professor and Chairman in the Department of Medical Microbial Ecology, Cell and Molecular Biology in Karolinska Institute, Stockholm since 1983-1999 and has been a Professor Emeritus in Karolinska Institute since 1990.

Field: Medical microbiology


Raul Cano, CSO, The BioCollective

Dr. Cano is specialized in Paleomicrobiology and is a recognized expert in environmental forensics and on the microbiome and resistome of European and Ancient American Cultures. He has taught microbiology and biotechnology at for 35 years, receiving more than a dozen rewards, including the prestigious Carski Award.

Field: Paleomicrobiology, human gut microbiota collection and population level studies

Martha Carlin, CEO/Founder, The BioCollective

Since its founding in 2015, The BioCollective has built a world-class kit for whole stool collection/population level studies. Their expertise on preparing samples, culture collections, storage methods and databases of metagenomic data will be important to the Vault repository and studies to understand microbial function.

Field: Systems analyses, Human gut microbiota collection and population level studies

Thomas Clavel, Group Leader “Functional Microbiome Research”, University Hospital of RWTH Aachen

Prof. Clavel has more than 15 years of experience in working on the mammalian gut microbiome using a combination of molecular and culture-based techniques. His team has been describing numerous novel bacterial taxa and assembling collections of bacterial strains from the intestine of various mammalian hosts, including mice (www.dsmz.de/miBC), pigs, and humans.

Field: Gut microbial ecology; anaerobic cultivation

Hannes Dempewolf, Senior Scientist and Head of Global Initiatives, Global Crop Diversity Trust

Dr. Dempewolf has been working at the interface of science, policy and resource mobilization. He has been an valuable advisor for the Microbiota Vault initiative.

Field: Biobanking, biodiversity

Joël Doré, Research Director in the Micalis Institute “Food and Gut Microbiology for Human Health”, INRA/Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique

Dr. Doré is Scientific director of MetaGenoPolis (mgps.eu), center of excellence in quantitative and functional metagenomics, and a world expert in gut microbiology, having contributed to the development of standards on microbiome research for translational applications.

Field: Human intestinal microbial ecology and metagenomics

Naama Geva-Zatorsky, Assistant Professor at Technion, CIFAR-Azrieli Global Scholar, Humans & Microbiome Program

Dr. Geva-Zatorsky studies the microbiota effects on host physiology and their therapeutic potential. She is interested in characterizing the microbial molecules involved and the mechanisms of their interactions with the mammalian host. In addition, she is studying the dynamics of microbial colonization, their spatial organization and the importance of bacteriophages in the gut ecosystem.

Field: Microbiology, Immunology, Systems Biology

Filipa Godoy-Vitorino, University of Puerto Rico, School of Medicine, Microbial Ecology and Genomics Lab

Dr. Godoy-Vitorino is a Microbial Ecologist working on the role of microbes in human, animal and environmental health, and is working with liaisons to coordinate support for the Microbiota Vault, from global institutions.

Field: Microbiomes, Metagenomics

Robert M. Goodman, Executive Dean, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University

Dr. Goodman is a prominent academic and executive leader with experience in building infrastructures to launch and sustain complex multidisciplinary scientific enterprises.

Field: Microbial Ecology, Metagenomics, Project Management

Janet K. Jansson, Chief Scientist for Biology in the Biological Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Dr. Jansson is the lead for the Microbiomes in Transition (MinT) Initiative and studies phenotypic Response of the Soil Microbiome to Environmental Perturbations. 

Field: Microbiomes, Metagenomics

Jeff Leach, Founder, The Human Food Project

Jeff Leach is the founder of the Human Food Project and co-Founder of the American Gut Project. He will work to secure samples for deposit Microbiome Vault from remote and rural populations he works with in Africa including San Bushmen and Himba from Namibia and Hadza and Datoga from Tanzania. Jeff is currently a Visiting Research Fellow inThe Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London, London.

Field: Rural gut microbiota sampling, nutrition

Simon Levin, Professor, Princeton University
Simon Levin is an ecologist at Princeton, interested in the structure and dynamics of ecological communities in general and how theories of ecological organization can be applied to the microbiome.
Field:  Ecology

Daniele Manzella, Policy and legal expert for the United Nations, Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture at FAO

Mr. Manzella contributes to the global governance of innovation in agriculture by promoting mechanisms for an efficient science-policy interface. He has been advisor to the Global Crop Diversity Trust, and developing country governments on various themes related to biosecurity, trade and intellectual property.

Field: Law, Intellectual Property

Laura-Isobel McCall, Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma

Dr. McCall uses a small molecule-centric metabolomics approach to understand microbiome function, with a focus on the connection between chemical signaling and microbial tropism and on the effects of eukaryotic colonizers on host and bacterial metabolism.

Field: Metabolomics, Parasitology

Oscar Noya-Alarcon, Central University, Amazonic Center of Research and Control of Tropical Diseases, Venezuela

Dr. Noya Alarcon is an MD parasitologist working with remote Amerindian populations in the vast South American forests of the South of Venezuela. He studies the effect of modern lifestyles on human microbiota and health.

Field: Medicine, Parasitology

Justin L. Sonnenburg, Associate Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine

Dr. Sonnenburg studies the gut microbiota in health and disease and co-directs the Center for Human Microbiome Studies.  His laboratory at Stanford develops and employs diverse technologies to understand basic principles that govern interactions within the intestinal microbiota and between the microbiota and the host. An ongoing objective of the research program is to devise and implement innovative strategies to prevent and treat disease in humans via the gut microbiota.

Field:  Gut Microbiota Mechanisms and Function

Erica D. Sonnenburg, PhD, Senior Scientist, Stanford University School of Medicine

Dr. Sonnenburg studies the mechanisms that underlie gut microbiota dynamics.  Her group focuses on understanding the impact of diet on gut microbiota composition and function.  Current efforts are focused on defining and understanding the biology of gut microbes that have been depleted over the course of industrialization.

Field:  Diet-microbiota dynamics, microbes lost during industrialization

Daniela Vargas-Robles, Amazonic Center of Research and Control of Tropical Diseases, Venezuela

Dr. Vargas-Robles is a researcher microbial ecology focusing in the effect of modern lifestyles in human microbiota, HPV and health. She is also studying indoors microbiomes of highly transit urban systems such as city subways.

Field: Microbial Ecology, Metagenomics

Lars Vereecke , MD at University Hospital Gent

Dr. Vereecke studies mechanisms underlying inflammatory and the contribution of the microbiota in multiple pathologies, in particular, the mechanistic link between gut & joint pathologies.

Field: Microbiomes, Immunology

Harris Wang, Assistant Professor, Columbia University

Dr. Wang is a systems and synthetic biologist who studies the composition, dynamics, spatial organization, and function of the microbiome using genomics and metagenomics approaches. He is interested in generating high-throughput strategies to culture and analyze gut microbiomes and engineering them for diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

Field: Microbiome, culturomics, systems Biology

Liping Zhao, Eveleigh-Fenton Chair of Applied Microbiology, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University

Field: Nutrition, Microbiology


Science perspective “Preserving microbial diversity”- October 5th 2018

A team of our pioneer scientists published the rationale around the Microbiome Vault initiative in the journal Science:

Find the full article here


Media coverage

  • Bloomberg: Scientists Urge Doomsday Vault for ‘Good’ Germs

  • U.S. News & World Report: Can a ‘Noah’s Ark’ of Microbes Save the World’s Health?

  • The Daily Mail: Scientists reveal plan to create doomsday ‘Noah’s Ark’ for good germs to protect humanity against future disease

  • The Guardian: Build ‘Noah’s ark’ for beneficial gut microbes, scientists say

  • Cosmos Magazine: Call for a global microbial “Noah’s ark”

  • IFL Science!: Scientists Want To Create A “Noah’s Ark” Of Bacteria To Protect The Future Of Global Health

  • Inverse: A Doomsday Vault for Seeds Isn’t Enough, We’ll Also Need One for Our Germs


Contact us / Donate

Interested in knowing more about The Microbiota Vault?

Or in establishing a partnership?

Please reach out via: info[at]microbiotavault.org