uBiome, the leading microbial genomics company, today announces important progress in its development of clinical tools with the uBiome Clinical Consortium. uBiome plans for the clinical microbiome consortium to inspire novel uses of microbiome testing, with the potential to make a significant contribution to human health.

Health care providers will receive five major benefits to start:
1) early access to the company’s clinical tests,
2) speaking opportunities and event invitations,
3) the opportunity to apply for grants to study the microbiome of their patient population,
4) early access to publications and microbiome literature from uBiome, and
5) opportunity to interact with other clinicians focused on health care applications of the microbiome.

Health care providers can register to join the uBiome clinical consortium here: http://ubiome.com/pages/clinical-consortium

The human microbiome is the term used to describe the remarkable amount and variety of bacteria carried both in and on the body. Clinical understanding of the crucial role played by the microbiome in many health conditions is relatively recent. Individuals are likely to play host to between three and six pounds of bacteria, with microbial cells outnumbering human cells by as much as ten to one. These bacteria affect health in many ways, both positively and negatively. For example they assist with the digestion of food, and help to synthesize vitamins. Less benign bacteria, however, can contribute to serious conditions such as: celiac disease; Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), including both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis; Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); esophageal reflux and esophageal cancer; Clostridium difficile infection; colorectal cancer; and liver and biliary tract diseases.

According to many experts, the clinical potential of microbiome testing is extremely promising. Dr. Jonathan Eisen, Professor of Microbiology, University of California, Davis, TED speaker, and advisor to uBiome, notes: “We need to start thinking about this microbial community in the context of everything in human medicine. What we need is a full field guide to the microbes that live in and on people so we can understand what they’re doing to our lives. We are them, and they are us.”

Jessica Richman, co-founder and CEO of uBiome, is excited about the potential to make an important contribution to clinical understanding of the microbiome: “Through our research partnerships with tens of thousands of citizen scientists and dozens of universities, including Harvard, Stanford, and UCSF, we have gathered billions of data points and built a set of tools that has enabled us to create clinical tests for health care providers and their patients. We look forward to working with clinicians to apply microbiome testing to improve human health.”

uBiome’s Advisory Board is made up of prominent researchers and experts including Dr. Joseph DeRisi, HHMI Professor Biochemistry, University of California, San Francisco; Dr. Jonathan Eisen, Professor of Microbiology, University of California, Davis; Linda Avey, Co-Founder of 23andme and Founder of Curio.us; Dr. Larry Smarr, Professor, Computer Science, University of California, San Diego; Dr. Meghana Gadgil, MD, Stanford Medical School and Fulbright Scholar; Dr. Pablo Valenzuela, Co-Founder Chiron Pharmaceuticals; Dr. Spencer Wells, Professor, Cornell University; Ken Nussbacher; Dr. Rob Lipshutz, Chief Business Officer, Institute for Systems Biology; Dr. Robynne Chutkan, Board member of American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy; and Dr. Daniel Kraft, Stanford and Harvard trained physician-scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, and innovator.

Dr. Zachary Apte, CTO and co-founder of uBiome, is excited about the future of the clinical consortium: “Our powerful high-throughput DNA sequencing technology and advanced bioinformatics will give health care professionals a window into their patients’ microbiomes. The opportunities for novel collaborations and for improvement in patient health are vast.”

uBiome was founded by UCSF scientists and technologists from Stanford and Cambridge and is now backed by Andreesen Horowitz, Y Combinator, and other leading investors. The company’s mission is to use big data to understand the human microbiome by developing useful health care products based on the microbiome in collaboration with its citizen scientists.

Health care providers interested in joining the uBiome clinical consortium can do so here: http://ubiome.com/pages/clinical-consortium