The University of Chicago

To fund a pilot project to examine the microbiome associated with surfaces in the home

  • Amount $141,450
  • City Chicago, IL
  • Investigator Jack Gilbert
  • Year 2011
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Microbiology of the Built Environment

Different parts of the body have different microbial profiles. The microorganisms that thrive in our underarms are different from those that live on our hands, which are different, in turn, from those that live on our scalp. Funds from this grant support a project by the University of Chicago's Jack Gilbert to investigate how these unique microbial profiles interact with the microbial populations of surfaces in the indoor environment. Gilbert will examine the microbial profiles associated with the dominant hand, the gut, and heel pad from 20 individuals in 10 homes. He will then compare these profiles to those found on door knobs, kitchen surfaces, bedroom and bathroom floors, and light switches following a move into a new home. These profiles will be examined every day for two weeks prior to moving and four weeks after moving to a new home, shedding light on whether the microbes found on people are transferred to the surfaces of their homes and, if so, whether the transferred microbes thrive in the new environments they find themselves in.

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