uBiome launches world’s first dental citizen science campaign

Exciting news, just announced this morning. Please share and spread the happy word!

For Immediate Release
Contact: Orli Kadoch
Cell: +1 415-691-7124
URL: igg.me/at/ubiomedental
Email: orli@ubiome.com

uBiome launches world’s first dental citizen science campaign

Will study dental microbiome with UCSF expert

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 2.29.32 PM

San Francisco, California — uBiome is launching the world’s first dental citizen science campaign two years after it made history with a record-breaking campaign to sequence the human microbiome. Raising over $350,000 from over 2,500 participants in 2013, the biotech startup sparked the era of microbiome-based personalized medicine — engaging with the public to provide easily accessible information about their own bodies using the latest in high-throughput DNA sequencing technology.

Dr. Jeremy Horst, DDS, PhD will be leading the study.  Dr. Horst has a clinical practice in the Bay Area and is involved in intensive research at UCSF, focusing on dental caries and genome-wide computational drug discovery techniques.  He is a rare combination of practicing dentist and PhD bioinformatician, and aims to highlight the importance of dental research in patient care using uBiome technology.

“We are all frustrated by our inability to predict and prevent dental disease.  We need better tools to help us track the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease and help educate our patients,” Dr. Horst says.

uBiome provides participants with a catalog of their own microbes related to their dental microbiome through a self-collected sample that is then processed in uBiome’s state-of-the-art laboratory in San Francisco. The service details the microbial composition of the teeth, explains what is known about each type of microbe, and relates the participant’s microbiome information to the latest scientific research on the role of the microbiome in health, diet and lifestyle.

“This new dental microbiome research is being done in collaboration with a team of dental experts, and most importantly, with the public. We’re launching this study on Indiegogo so that everyone can participate in citizen science. We hope this data proves valuable for dentists and anyone curious about the health of their teeth and gums,” said Jessica Richman, CEO and co-founder of uBiome.

To back the study, participate, and see more information, visit http://igg.me/at/ubiomedental.

The human body is composed of 10 trillion human cells, but there are ten times as many microbial cells as human cells – the 100 trillion that together form the microbiome. These microbes are not harmful, but rather are co-evolved symbiants, essential collaborators in our physiology.  Like the rainforest, the healthy human microbiome is a balanced ecosystem. The latest research suggests that the correct balance of microbes serves to keep potential pathogens in check and regulate the immune system. Microbes also perform essential functions such as digesting food and synthesizing vitamins.

Recent research has indicated the dental microbiota as a potentially predictive model of oral diseases. Cavities develop as a direct result of an imbalance in an otherwise-stable, oral microbiome and initiation of Periodontal disease and tooth decay is marked by an decrease in the complexity of the microbiome. The oral microbiome has also been linked to many diseases including neurodegeneration in glaucoma, pediatric inflammatory bowel disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease through inflammatory processes related to periodontal disease.

Scientific research in the 21st century has seen great strides in collaborative practices, with “citizen science” allowing professional scientists and amateurs to collaborate on large-scale research questions.  According to Dr.  Zachary Apte, CTO and co-founder of uBiome, “We want to make the science available to everyone. Now, anyone can have their dental microbiome sequenced and understand what it means.”

In contrast to immutable human genome, the microbiome, has the potential to be modified through simple means such as targeted antibiotics, healthful probiotics, diet and other lifestyle interventions. Thus, the microbiome may provide some of the most important medical breakthroughs of our era.  uBiome ultimately aims to empower participants to manage their microbiomes to improve their health. By joining uBiome, citizen scientists can explore their own microbiome and be partners in the process of scientific discovery.


If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, call uBiome at +1 415-691-7124 or email orli@uBiome.com


Jessica talks to Tim Ferriss about uBiome

We’re so excited to announce that we’ve been featured on Tim Ferriss’s latest podcast!


Maybe you know about Tim from one of his (several) #1 New York Times Bestselling books, his #1 business podcast, his world record in tango, or any of his other amazing endeavors. His podcast is excellent — we’re regular listeners and you should be too!

If you’re a Tim Ferriss listener, get your uBiome kit to learn about your microbiome. 10% off if you use the code timferrisspodcast when you place your order.

The podcast explores a number of long-held ideas about the microbiome, and examines topics such as:

  • Misconceptions about the microbiome
  • Mood disorders and your microbiome
  • Citizen Science and accelerating good research in this field
  • Creating an environment in which bacteria can thrive
  • Common disruptors of the microbiome

(There is some discussion of poop. Don’t be alarmed — we’re professionals.)

You can read more about this on Tim Ferriss’s blog.

The podcast is available both on iTunes and in a non-iTunes format.

uBiome Books presents: A Chryseobacterium Carol

Front cover

uBiome launches: uBiome Books

We’re delighted to announce the first in a new series of books on your microbiome.

This festive little book introduces some of our favorite microbial carols, and let your tiny friends show how they ring in the holiday season.


Featuring the lyrics to holiday classics such as:

  • Jingle Bellilinea
  • Silent Bacilli
  • Have Yourself A Balanced Microbiome

We’ve also included a information on each of the bacteria featured in these carols, so that you understand what all the song (and dance) is about.   You can order your copy directly from our online store.

Note: orders placed for A Chrseobacterium Carol after 17th Dec will unfortunately not arrive in time for delivery by December 25th. 

uBiome joins the Y Combinator and Andressen Horowitz families

Y Combinator logo

uBiome is really proud to have joined both the Y Combinator and Andreesen Horowitz families.

uBiome was part of the Summer 2014 class at Y Combinator and just raised a Series A from Andreesen Horowitz. Our new website, including a new ordering page, is the first of many improvements on the way. Andreesen (a16z) is a top-tier venture firm that will support our growth as we move past the seed stage. Here’s to great things to come!

As part of these changes, we are updating our survey interface and redesigning both the flow (big changes here) and the questions themselves. We’d love your help in rethinking the surveys. What questions would you like to see? Are there new areas we should ask about? What would be most helpful? Please fill out our poll on the uBiome survey here or send emails to support@ubiome.com and we’ll incorporate as much of your feedback as we can.

Nutrition Business Journal Summit Panelist Jessica Richman Discusses Big Data and Personalized Medicine

David Perlmutter addressing the NBJ audience.
David Perlmutter addressing the NBJ audience.

The Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) hosted the 17th Annual NBJ Summit July 22-25 in Dana Point, CA to bring together the thought leaders, innovators, and aspiring revolutionaries of the nutrition industry for three days of discussion and inspiration. uBiome’s cofounder and CEO, Jessica Richman, was an invited panelist for the “Personalized Medicine 201: Insights on the Future of our Industry” education session on the closing day of the summit.

The panel, moderated by Marc Brush, editor-in-chief of NBJ, focused on the role of supplements in the advancement of personalized medicine. Richman was joined on the panel by Mark Menolascino, anti-aging physician and founder of Meno Clinic; Michael Nova, Chief Medical Officer of Pathway Genomics; and Larry Smarr, founding Director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), all leaders in the application of big data to personalized medicine or quantified self initiatives. (For a quick introduction to quantified self see Gary Wolf’s TED@Cannes talk here.)

In his lecture prior to the panel discussion, Smarr, Atlantic Magazine’s “measure man”, posited that two-thirds of chronic diseases are self imposed by lifestyle choices. Lifestyle choices, reflective of our behavior, combine with genetics to further define our health conditions according to  Menolascino. However, we may be trapped in a feedback loop since, as pointed out during the summit by David Perlmutter, the industrial lifestyle we are choosing alters the bacteria of our gut leading to changes in the brain and behavior that further modify behavior and perpetuate our slide down the slope into poor health.

This area of the discussion is where the mission of uBiome coupled with supplements can intervene. By using big data to assist in the development of science-based, proven supplements we can break this feedback loop. As a panelist, Richman stated, “I see a future where all of us can generate hypotheses and set research agendas, where anecdotes can converge into data to create meaningful research.” Understanding of self and access to interventions to alter self are the future of personalized medicine, especially as it applies to our gut microbiota.

The panel covered several additional areas of personalized medicine and big data’s role in it’s progress. Robert Craven tweeted during the discussion, “‘middlemen are needed to interpret the complex subject of personal medicine into common language,” reflecting both the overwhelming nature of big data and personalized medicine, as well as, the immense possibilities of these conjoined fields.

Help contribute to the big data movement with one of uBiome’s microbiome sampling kits available here.

Contributed by Brooke Anderson-White, PhD, uBiome Scientist