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Rapid advances in sequencing technology have made it possible to investigate the microbial communities that surround us in unprecedented depth. The interactions between humans and the microbiome present in buildings as well as the rich microbial community present in surface water, tap water and even reused water can now be explored in new ways. However, much of this data is difficult to access for our students and even for fellow researchers who are interested in investigating the environmental, health and ecological implications of this newfound diversity of microorganisms.

The UT BIOME project was initiated in 2013 to address this need by:
  1. (1) Engaging the UT community in the collection and analysis of environmental samples from across the UT Austin campus (our “Living Laboratory”) and;
  2. (2) Developing an interactive mapping platform that users within and outside the university can access to download biome results and associated environmental data by simply clicking on the interactive map.


The site you are visiting is the result of these efforts to date. Nearly 300 students have participated in the collection and analysis of the microbiome and associated environmental data summarized on the map. While we are already integrating this map into our curriculum and research, this platform also provides a foundation that can be used by others for any variety of environmental, energy, infrastructure or even health related work. Stay tuned for updates as we continue to add to this interactive map and work with collaborators across campus and beyond. If you are interested in adding your data to the map or would like to adapt this approach for your university or college, please contact Dr. Kerry Kinney or Dr. Paola Passalacqua