MetaSUB

Metagenomics & Metadesign of Subways & Urban Biomes/

Building a Molecular Portrait of Cities


Subway surfaces define the daily commute for billions of people each year, and yet there is almost nothing known about the impact of surface type, season, commuter type, or subway design on their commute. We aim to bring a molecular view of the cities to improve their design, use, and impact on health.

chris swabbing_credited

About MetaSUB

The Metagenomics and Metadesign of the Subways and Urban Biomes (MetaSUB) International consortium is a novel, interdisciplinary initiative made up of experts across many fields, including genomics, data analysis, engineering, public health, and design. Just as there is a standard and measurement of temperature, air pressure, wind currents– all of which are considered in the design of the built environment– the microbial ecosystem is just as dynamic and just as integral and should be integrated into the design of cities. By developing and testing standards for the field and optimizing methods for urban sample collection, DNA/RNA isolation, taxa characterization, and data visualization, the MetaSUB consortium is pioneering an unprecedented study of urban mass-transit systems and cities around the world. These data will benefit city planners, public health officials, and designers, as well as discovery new species, biological systems, and biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs), thus enabling an era of more quantified, responsive, and “smarter cities.”

3 Goals


  1. Geospatial Metagenomic and Forensic Maps
  2. Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) Marker Tracking
  3. New Biosynthetic Gene Clusters (BGCs); New Drugs

Press