Dynamics of the Human Microbiota

Participate in an Ecological Study of the Human Microbiome!

Healthy adult volunteers are needed for a study of the native human microbiota.

Physicians and scientists are increasingly aware of important human health effects related to the microbial communities that normally live on and in the human body.  Our native microbiota helps us digest food, fight off pathogens, and even helps regulate our immune system and metabolism.  However, we don't yet know very much about the natural dynamics of these communities, how they change over time.  We also don't know nearly enough about how our native microbiota responds to routine disturbances in our lives, such as a change in diet or taking an antibiotic.

Stanford researchers need healthy adults to participate in a study to examine the dynamics of the microbial populations that inhabit the colon and other body sites.  There are several different arms of the study that last between 6-9 months, and some arms of the study involve deliberate perturbations to the microbiota such as adding resistant starch to the diet for 5 days, taking a short course of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin, or experiencing a 1-day colonic cleansing (a step usually taken before a routine colonoscopy).

Participants will be asked to provide samples of their own microbiota (such as stool samples, saliva samples, and swabs from the skin) once weekly through most of the study interval, but during some weeks we will ask for samples as often as daily.  We may also ask participants to provide blood samples and to take part in genetic testing for gene variants known to be involved in microbial interactions; these procedures are optional.  Participants will receive monetary compensation, and the satisfaction of helping advance our understanding of the microbial ecosystem we carry within us!