Household transmission of the human microbiome

How are our microbiomes shaped by the people and places around us? People who live together tend to have more similar microbiomes, but we don't know how and why microbes move between people and places in daily life.

That's where this study comes in. We are looking for healthy, cohabiting pairs of adults to participate in a study to examine the natural transmission dynamics of the human microbiome. We plan to use powerful genomic techniques to track microbes as they move through our lives, and to learn how disturbances like antibiotics affect their movements.

Contact to learn more. For participant's rights questions, contact 1-866-680-2906.


Participants must be

  • At least 18 years of age
  • Living with at least one roommate or housemate
    (Romantic and platonic living partners are both eligible.)
  • Not pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • Not taking any chronic medications other than birth control (if planning to take ciprofloxacin)

Click here to assess your eligibility to participate in our study.

Study design

Participants will be asked to

  • Collect weekly stool and saliva samples for two months
  • Collect daily stool samples for up to three weeks
  • Collect occasional swabs of pets and household surfaces
  • Store microbiome samples in home freezers for several weeks
  • Provide information about diet, social contacts, and personal history
  • (Some participants) Take a 5-day course of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin

Participants can receive their own microbiome data, as well as monetary compensation of $150 for participants who do not undergo antibiotic treatment, and $250 for participants who do undergo antibiotic treatment.

Visit the "Frequently Asked Questions" page or contact to learn more.


Dr. Katherine Xue