Metagenomics & Metadesign of Subways & Urban Biomes/

Building a Molecular Portrait of Cities

We aim to bring a molecular view of cities to improve their design, use, and impact on health.  Subway, bus, and myriad public urban surfaces define humanity’s most dense interaction space for millions of people each day, and yet, there is almost nothing known about the impact of surface type, season, commuter type, or design on their genetic dynamics.

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 of 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. Thus, it should also 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 International 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

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