My Mouth, My Nose, My Microbes Update!

Hi! As our team of research scientists gets ready for another fun and exciting year with the Cambridge Science Festival, we want to thank all the wonderful participants who visited Forsyth in 2018 and 2017 to help us build a collection of potentially good microbes (bacteria) from the nose. In April 2018, a total of 239 volunteers, ranging from under a month of age to folks in their 80s, came out and picked their noses for science. From these samples, we collected and saved over 1200 nasal bacteria isolates! Of these, we identified 560 that are members of the potentially good bacterial types: Corynebacterium species and Dolosigranulum pigrum. The goal of our lab is to understand how these bacteria might help us, their host, fight off potentially harmful bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Thanks to you donating these new isolates, we are hard at work to do just that!

As an example of research on these bacteria, this past year we sequenced (read) the whole genomic DNA of 18 Dolosigranulum pigrum isolates from volunteers of the Cambridge Science Festival. We are now in the process of sequencing the genomes of another 96 Corynebacterium, belonging to five different species. These are bacteria that are currently under studied but emerging data suggests they might be beneficial to humans. By looking at the DNA of these bacterial isolates, we are working to understand their history in the population and role within us, their host. We have already made some interesting findings with more to come. And, it is all thanks to participants like you who were willing to pick your nose for scientific progress!

This study is approved by the Forsyth Institutional Review Board.