Mission

More and more scientific evidence points at connections between decreasing microbiota diversity and the development of disease.

The Microbiota Vault aims to conserving the diverse microbiota to ensure long-term health for humanity.

Approach

Feasibility study

Team


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 of 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 California San Diego

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 Rutgers University

Martin J. Blaser holds the Henry Rutgers Chair of the Human Microbiome and Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School  as well as Director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine at Rutgers University. 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

Collaborators

Tamar Barkay,  Professor, Rutgers University

Dr. Barkay is a microbial ecologist who studies the interactions of microorganisms with their environment and the ways they affect, and are affected by, the changing conditions on our planet.  She is investigating how the environmental microbiome is responding to the presence of toxic substances, modulating their impact on human and environmental health.

Field: Microbial ecology, environmental health


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


Maria Carmen Collado,  Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

Maria Carmen Collado is research scientist at Institute of Agrochesmisry and Foord Technology-Spanish National Researcg Councila (IATA-CSIC, Valencia, Spain). Her research work is multidisciplinary and includes microbiology, food science, nutrition and human health.  Her interests are focused on microbiota and nutrition during pregnancy and early life period.

Field: microbiology, nutrition and lactation


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


Merete Eggesbø, MD, Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Dr. Eggesbø is an epidemiologist and the PI of the HUMIS-NoMIC study, in which the gut microbiome has been mapped from birth onwards to 12 years. Her research aims at exploring how early life factors, including exposure to toxicants, influences the infant gut microbiome, as well as understanding the long-term health impacts of a disrupted early microbiome.

Field: Gut microbiota in babies, SCFA, epidemiology, environmental toxicants


Eran Elinav, MD,  Professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science

Dr. Elinav is also the director of the cancer-microbiome division at the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Germany. His labs focus on deciphering the molecular basis of host-microbiome interactions and their effects on health and disease

Field: Nutrition, Microbiology


Lars Engstrand, MD, Professor and Director, Centre for Translational Microbiome Research, Karolinska Institutet & Science for Life Laboratory

Dr. Engstrand has more than 30 years experience, often combining population-based epidemiology with clinical and basic microbiological science, including molecular biology and genomics. He studies the human microbiome in health and disease, and his group introduced the use of next generation sequencing in studies of the human gastro-intestinal microbiome more than 10 years ago.

Field: Clinical and basic sciences, cancer, reproductive medicine and gut related disorders


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


Francisco Guarner,  MD, Vall d’Hebron Institutie of Research

Francisco Guarner, MD is a Consultant Physician specializing in Gastroenterology at University Hospital Vall d’Hebron (Barcelona, Spain). His areas of clinical practice and research are inflammatory bowel diseases, gut microbiota, and mucosal immunity.

Field: Gastroenterology, Immunology, Gut Microbial Ecosystem


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


Kenya Honda, Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Keio University School of Medicine (Tokyo, Japan)

Kenya Honda has been aiming to identify specific intestinal bacterial species that influence the host immune cells by inducing their functions and differentiation. By unraveling the mechanisms and key bacterial molecules, Honda team strives to develop therapeutic intervention for healing wide-array of intestinal dysbiosis, such as inflammatory bowel disease, auto-immune diseases and allergy.

Field: Microbiota therapeutics, Microbiology, Immunology


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


Dan Knights, Associate Professor, University of Minnesota

Dr. Knights is a computational biologist who has developed some of the leading methods for analyzing microbiome data. He runs a research lab at the University of Minnesota where he brings together methods in machine learning, nutrition, and metagenomics to study how modern lifestyles and diets impact the gut microbiota in health and disease.

Field:  Microbial ecology, machine learning


Ramanan Laxminarayan, Director and Senior Fellow, CDDEP and Princeton University

Dr. Laxminarayan is broadly interested in issues of antimicrobial effectiveness as one of conserving a shared common resource.  He is trained as an economist and an epidemiologist and his work addresses issues of economic and health consequences of resistance, antibiotic consumption in humans and animals, and incentives for appropriate use of existing antibiotics and development of new ones.

Field: Economics, epidemiology


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


Margaret McFall-Ngai, Professor and Director, Pacific Biosciences Research Center, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Professor McFall-Ngai, in partnership with microbiologists, has developed the squid-vibrio model for the study of the chronic colonization of animal epithelia by Gram-negative bacteria. Using this model, she studies symbiont recruitment from the environment, specificity, development of the symbiotic system, and the mechanisms underlying persistence of the association.

Field: The development and use of model systems for the study of complex microbiota


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


Edward Ruby, Professor at University of Hawaii-Manoa

Dr. Ruby has worked to understand the role of beneficial bacterial-host interactions for 40 years. Focusing on luminescent bacteria isolated from the light organs of marine animals, he helped discover the phenomenon of microbial quorum signaling and, with Margaret McFall-Ngai, has developed the Vibrio fischeri-sepiolid squid light-organ association as a natural experimental model for microbial symbioses.

Field: Host-microbe signaling pathways, bacterial physiology and genomics


Michael Scharl, MD, Professor, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University Hospital Zürich

Dr. Scharl is specialized in Gastroenterology and Head of the Translational Microbiome Research Center at USZ. He studies the interaction between the intestinal microbiota and the immune system. He is investigating the potential of the intestinal microbiome and particularly, specific bacterial strains, as therapeutic agents or biomarkers in inflammatory and malignant diseases.

Field: Gastroenterology, Immunology, Gut Microbiota


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


Luís Teixeira, Principal Investigator at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência

Luis Teixeira is interested in how hosts interact with symbiotic microorganisms at the functional and evolutionary levels. He studies interactions with microbial pathogens and mutualists, as well as, how microbes influence each other. In this context his group has been collecting and characterizing isolates of the microbiota of wild Drosophila populations.

Field: Host-microbe interactions


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


Karina B. Xavier, Principal Investigator at Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência

Dr. Xavier’s main research interest is inter-species cell-cell communication in bacteria and its role in beneficial and hostile interactions with the host. She started working on bacterial quorum sensing in her postdoc at Princeton University where she showed that the quorum sensing signal autoinducer-2 can foster interspecies communication in bacteria. Recently, her group showed that manipulation of interspecies quorum sensing in the mammalian gut can influence species composition of the microbiota. In 2012 she received the Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Early Career Award.

Field: Microbial molecular biology, biochemistry and quorum sensing


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

Dr. Zhao studies how nutrition impact human health by way of modulation of the gut microbiota.

Field: Nutrition, Microbiology

News

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

 

Tax-exempt* donations can be placed via:

Account Name: Microbiota Vault Inc

Bank: Citibank

Address: Citibank, N.A. 153 East 53rd St., NY, NY 10043, USA

Routing (ABA) number:  0210000890

Account number: 6795223351

SWIFT: CITIUS33

*The Microbiota Vault Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity recognized as such by the US Government (IRS Employer Identification Number 83-0531098), allowing all donations to us to be exempt from federal income taxes.