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.


Feasibility study

Download the full feasibility study
as of June 11th 2020 (12pm EST) from here.


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 was 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 was 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



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

Thomas Bosch, Professor, University of Kiel

Dr. Bosch has been widely recognized for his work in evolutionary developmental biology and the development of simple animal models to experimentally assess and validate general molecular and evolutionary principles shaping host-microbe interactions.

Field: Metaorganisms, healthy aging, cnidarian Hydra

Nicholas Bokulich, Professor, ETH Zürich

Nicholas Bokulich is the Professor of Food Systems Biotechnology at the Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health (ETH Zürich). The Bokulich laboratory develops computational methods and software for studying spatiotemporal dynamics of microbial ecosystems, and applies these tools to investigate the interface between microbiomes, food, and human health.

Field: Microbial ecosystems

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

Adrian Egli, Professor, Research Group Leader Applied Microbiology Research, University of Basel and Head of Clinical Bacteriology and Mycology, University Hospital Basel

Prof. Egli’s main goals are: 1) to develop new diagnostic for rapid detection of multidrug resistant and virulent pathogen; 2) to explore novel typing technologies such as whole genome sequencing  and MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry for clinical applications; 3) to finally understand pathogen evolution in the broad context of the host/pathogen/environment interaction. This could lead to the identification of the most critical factors important for pathogenicity, resistance development, and transmission. Such information will allow the generation of novel intervention strategies to impact disease outcomes for a single patient but also the population burden of infections.

Field: Clinical microbiology, machine learning, biobanking, sequencing, transmission dynamics

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

B. Brett Finlay, Professor, Michael Smith Laboratories, University of British Columbia

Dr. Finlay is also co-director of the CIFAR Humans and Microbiome Program. His labs focus on host-microbe interactions, including both pathogenic microbes and the microbiome, and their effects on health and disease

Field: Microbiology, microbial pathogenesis

Harry J Flint Professor Emeritus, University of Aberdeen

Harry Flint is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Aberdeen (UK). He obtained his BSc and PhD in Genetics from the University of Edinburgh and subsequently held appointments at the Universities of Nottingham, the West Indies and Edinburgh before joining the Rowett Institute in Aberdeen in 1985. Harry’s research focuses on the contribution of commensal and symbiotic micro-organisms inhabiting the mammalian gut to nutrition and health. Harry has served on the UK ACNFP (Advisory Committee for Novel Foods and Processes) and as a Scientific Governor of the British Nutrition Foundation.

Field: Gut Microbiology

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. Filipa is the President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Caribbean Division, 2020-2022

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

Christian Hoffmann, Assistant Professor, University of São Paulo

Dr. Hoffmann focuses his research on the interplay between the gut microbiome, diet, and immune modulation, how it changes as we shift our life-styles, and how to make use of this relationship to promote human health. His laboratory employs a multidisciplinary approach to address these questions, using both population surveys and human clinical studies. One of the ongoing study models uses unavailable carbohydrates to try to reveal how diet elements modulate the intestinal microbiome, directly as energy sources, and through their influence on the immune system.

Field: Microbial ecology, immune modulation, diet and nutrition

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

Sue Houghton, Documentary Filmmaker

Sue graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and did graduate work at Art Center College and UCLA. She was staff at the National Geographic Society for 10 years, and as a Showrunner, mentored a unique team of filmmakers to create multiple blue-chip series and specials. Sue creates, develops, directs and writes original programming that is primarily focused on science, wildlife and conservation, and has delivered multiple series for PBS, National Geographic and the Discovery Channel.

Field: Everywhere except Antarctica, expertise in the High Arctic, India, Southeast Asia, Mexico and Mongolia. Topside and underwater.

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

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

Safarina G. Malik, Lab Head, Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Indonesia

Dr. Malik’s research interest include mitochondrial genetics and dysfunction, genetic diversity , gut microbes and lifestyle diseases. She is one of the initiator of the IMELDA (Indonesian Model for Epidemic Lifestyle Disease Associations) study that link genetics, gut microbiota and nutrition/environment diversities with lifestyle disease.

Field: Genetics, lifestyle disease

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

Jorge Marcone, Associate Professor, Rutgers University

Dr. Marcone research focuses on literature, film, and arts with a significant potential for, or impact in facilitating, or blocking, adaptation to socio-ecological changes and uncertainty. He specializes on narratives of the Amazon, in diverse media and fields of study, that represent indigenous/aboriginal ontologies of the human and nonhuman, environmentalisms, and practices of socio-ecological resilience.

Field: Environmental humanities, amazonian studies, latin American cultural studies

Daniel McDonald, Scientific Director, The Microsetta Initiative, UC San Diego School of Medicine

Dr. McDonald develops open access citizen science infrastructure to catalog host associated microbes. He is interested in facilitating data reuse for hypothesis generation and data exploration, and the development of software to enable large scale microbiome analysis.

Field: microbiome analysis, databases

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

Dr. 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

Beth Nash, MD, healthcare consultant

Dr. Beth Nash is a former Infectious diseases physician and researcher who has spent the past 25 years leading innovative value-based care initiatives in clinical settings and in the publishing, payer, and pharmaceutical industries. She has a longstanding interest in the relationship between the microbiome and chronic disease.

Field: Infectious diseases, medical writing, project management

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

Ørjan Olsvik, Professor, The Arctic University of Norway

Dr. Olsvik is Professor in Medical Microbiology at Faculty of Health Sciences at the UiT-Norwegian Arctic University in Tromsø, Norway. He is also a former professor in veterinary microbiology at the Norwegian College of Veterinary Medicine Oslo, and spent several years at Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention in Atlanta, USA. He worked with diagnosis of diarrheal microbial diseases and intestinal bacterial flora. He has a special interest in antimicrobial resistance and outbreak investigations.

Field: Medical microbiology, antimicrobial resistance,  outbreak investigations

Tobias Rees, Professor, New School for Social Research
Dr. Rees is Reid Hoffman Professor of Humanities at the New School in New York; Founding Director of the Transformations of the Human program at the Berggruen Institute in Los Angeles; and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute For Advanced Research (CIFAR). His research is focused on the ways in which fields like microbiome research and machine learning challenge and change the modern concept of the human (according to which humans are more than nature/other than machine).
Fields: philosophy, microbiome, machine learning.

Edward Ruby, Professor, 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

Matthew Ryan, Research Lead Biological Resources, CAB International, UK

Matthew Ryan has curated the CABI microbial culture collection since 2006 and has led research into ensuring the genomic stability of fungi through the development of novel cryopreservation protocols. More recently, he has played an active role in various international activities to ensure that collection and biobanking infrastructure are developing to meet the needs of the microbiome research community, especially in the areas of Agri-food. He currently leads a UK BBSRC project to establish a crop microbiome cryobank, is a collaborator on the EU Microbiome Support project and a board member of the International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research.

Field: Collections, Cryopreservation, microbiology, mycology

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

Thomas M. Schmidt, Professor, University of Michigan

Dr. Schmidt is director of the Michigan Microbiome Project and a microbiologist who has studies microbes from diverse environments. Most recently he has focused on understanding how environmental characteristics in the GI tract influence the functioning of the gut microbiota and how to engineer that system for desired outcomes.

Field: Physiology and ecology of microbes in complex microbial communities

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, 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, 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, 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

Pascale Vonaesch, Scientific Project Leader, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

Pascale Vonaesch works on the role of the microbiota in nutrition-related diseases with a focus on child undernutrition as well as the triad linking nutrition, intestinal infection and the microbiota. Her current focus is on the development of microbiota-targeted interventions to ameliorate the current nutritional therapies, especially for under- and overnutrition and related health effects.

Field: Malnutrition, microbiota-targeted interventions, microbiology, pathophysiology

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, 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


January 15th 2021 – First Latin American Symposium of the Global Microbiome Network 

The current symposium brings together local and foreign scientists that lead the fields of microbiology, anthropology, ethics, public health and bioinformatics, to teach, learn and discuss the importance of conservation efforts on microbial biodiversity. This is the first of a series of workshops that will help establish a global microbiome network.
Microbial diversity, crucial for human health, is globally threatened by westernization and urbanization at an unprecedented pace. Microbial biodiversity hotspots are mostly located in places with traditional peoples and will be lost as they integrate in industrial societies, unless there is recognition of the urgent to preserve it, and foster research to understand the functions of the diversity at risk of being lost.
There is a clear association between industrialization/urbanization and the rocketing of immune and metabolic and immune malfunctions leading to diseases such as asthma, allergies, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, etc. These microbes at risk of extinction will be needed in the future to reverse the worldwide trends of increasing chronic diseases.

Register Here
Symposium Agenda

June 11th 2020 – Public release of the Microbiota Vault feasibility study

A new feasibility study supported by world-leading scientists finds that the creation of a “microbial Noah’s Ark” is feasible and should move forward into a pilot project phase. The feasibility study was prepared by two independent Swiss firms (evalueScience and advocacy) and supported by non-profit institutions and universities active in the field of the human gut microbiome. The funding consortia includes the Swiss Gebert Rüf Foundation along with the Seerave Foundation, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Portugal), Rutgers University (USA), Kiel University (Germany), Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (Canada), Bengt E. Gustafsson symposium foundation (affiliated to Karolinska Institutet, Sweden) and UC San Diego School of Medicine (USA). The study found that the Microbiota Vault initiative has great significance and potential, and that its leaders should establish a pilot project that would include infrastructure to store microbes in a site such as Switzerland or Norway or and a collaboration mechanism for collecting samples with a developing country.

Download the full feasibility study as of June 11th 2020 (12pm EST) from here.

The following press releases are available for download:
USA (Rutgers University)
– Switzerland EN, FR, DE (Seerave Foundation and Gebert Rüf Foundation)
– Germany EN, DE (Kiel University)
Portugal (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation)

A 1 minute video is available for screen and social media.

December 1st 2019 – Clinical review on  “The role of the changing human microbiome in the asthma pandemic”

Prof. Martin Blaser, one of our pioneer scientists, published a comprehensive review to highlight the strides the field has made in characterizing the constituents of the human gastrointestinal microbiota, such as Helicobacter
pylori, other members of the neonatal intestinal microbiota, and microbial peptides and metabolites that influence host immunity.

Find the full article here.

November 13th 2019 – Kiel Möbius Prize goes to Microbiota Vault pioneer Prof. Martin Blaser

The Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1182 “Origin and Function of Metaorganisms” at Kiel University awarded its most important science prize, the Karl August Möbius-Fellowship, for the third time. This year’s winner is the American physician and microbiologist Professor Martin J. Blaser from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Blaser, who was voted one of the 100 most influential people of 2015 by the US news magazine “Time”, will receive the 10,000 Euro award for his lifetime achievement and the associated special merits for a better understanding of how microbial colonization of the body is related to human health. A core thesis of his work is that the loss of microbial diversity is one of the main causes of many modern diseases of civilization.

Find the full article here.

Watch the interview with Martin Blaser & Maria Gloria Dominguez here (3 minutes) or here (29 minutes).

June 1st 2019 – Opinion: New Repository Will Hold the World’s Microbial Riches

A team of our pioneer scientists published an opinion piece around the Microbiome Vault initiative in “The Scientist”.

Find the full article here.

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

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


  • World Radio Switzerland: Interview with Manuel Fankhauser, a Microbiota Vault pioneer (in English)
  • RTS (Swiss National Radio): Interview with Joël Doré, a Microbiota Vault collaborator (in French)
  • Publico: Vai ser criado um cofre para os micróbios da humanidade
  • ElNuevoDia: Un Arca de Noé para los microbios
  • ScienceNews: Scientists want to build a Noah’s Ark for the human microbiome
  • Blick: Schweiz als Standort für «Arche Noah der Mikroorganismen»
  • Heidi.News: EXCLUSIF — Un bunker de l’armée suisse pourrait devenir l’Arche de Noé du microbiote humain
  • Higgs: Warum Tausende von Fäkalproben in einem Schweizer Bunker aufbewahrt werden sollen
  • LeTemps: La Suisse, terre d’accueil pour une arche de Noé microbienne?



  • The Washington Post: The silent microbiome crisis
  • NPR: A Frozen Idea To Save Helpful Germs From Disasters
  • ScienceDaily: Scientists call for microbial ‘Noah’s Ark’ to protect global health
  • 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?
  • Business Insider: Scientists want to build a doomsday vault of germs that could one day help save humanity
  • 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


*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.