Microbiome and big data: How uBiome is helping companies create 'microbiome-aware' products

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

uBiome uses big data on the microbiome to better understand human health
uBiome is using big data on the microbiome to help food, cosmetic, and pharma companies make ‘microbiome-aware’ products, said the company’s director of research and development, Dr. Sara Bird.

The company has collected samples of the human gut microbiome since its launch in 2012, resulting in what it claims to be the world’s largest dataset, allowing it to find novel correlations between microbiome composition and health conditions.

“Now that we have built the largest microbiome sample set in the world, we can use AI to find patterns in our data that have not been reported before, such as those between certain diseases and microbial communities,”​ she told NutraIngredients-USA.

Dr. Bird will be presenting some of uBiome's discoveries at the upcoming Probiota Americas 2018 conference​ in Miami, FL, June 5-7.

Sarah Bird, PhD, Director of Research and Development, uBiome

Its data came from over 250,000 samples of the human gut microbiome. It’s expected to grow to one million by the end of next year, Dr. Bird said.

Six issued patents—and over 100 pending applications—cover uBiome’s data, which is used in over 20 peer-reviewed publications and presentations, and has informed researchers in over 200 research institutions around the world, including the US Centers for Disease Control and the US National Institutes of Health.

Where do the samples come from?

The samples come from citizen scientists and clinical patients, she said. The company also collects data from consumers who use the uBiome at-home microbiome testing kit.

“When people send in their samples, they can participate in a questionnaire about their diet, lifestyle, health, and medicine use. Participation is completely voluntary, but we find that many of our users love to share that information with us,”​ Dr. Bird said.

The first of uBiome’s kits, Explorer, launched at the same time the company did. “Explorer has been used by hundreds of thousands of consumers in almost every country in the world, as well as by more than 200 prestigious research institutions around the world,” ​she said.

SmartGut analyzes a patient's fecal sample, and can be purchased through healthcare practitioners.

The company then launched two kits for consumers, which are sold through healthcare practitioners and covered by most healthcare insurance providers in the US. These are called SmartGut​, a kit to analyze fecal sample available in packs of six to see how the gut microbiome changes over time, and SmartJane​, targeted for women to analyze vaginal flora, HPV, and STIs.

Contributing to microbiome research

The company’s technology has helped build the scientific literature exploring the microbiome’s role in human health. On its website it lists 17 studies published in peer-reviewed journals—nine were studies published by uBiome staff, eight were studies using uBiome’s technology.

“We are also working on a paper that shows how reproducible our laboratory process is. If you test the same sample dozens of time, you will get very similar results,”​ Dr. Bird said.

She added that clinical research to show the clinical and economic impact of the medical testing uBiome conducts is underway.

“Our mission is to advance the science of the microbiome and use it to make useful products,”​ she said.

Dr. Sara Bird will be presenting at Probiota Americas 2018 in Miami on June 6

To learn more about uBiome and the company’s work, catch Dr. Bird’s presentation titled “uBiome, personalization, and the impact of big data on our understanding of the human microbiome” ​at the upcoming Probiota Americas 2018​, June 5-7, at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay in Miami, FL. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER​.

Probiota Americas 2018 new

Dr. Bird’s presentation will take place in the afternoon on day two, Wednesday, June 6.

“This is my first time at Probiota Americas!”​ she told us. “I am really looking forward to learning the latest about probiotics and market/consumer demand. I am also excited to meet other leaders and innovators in the microbiome field.”


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