StuckOnU is an experiment we’ve been conducting over two years now across various conferences and meetings where we swab participant’s phones and sequence the DNA “stuck” on your phone. We utilize the latest in next generation sequencing to do a full metagenomics profile of your phone so this lets us look at the microbiome, – or the community of microorganisms that live on your phone – predict what was the last thing you ate, predict your ancestry, and so much more. In this day and age, the phone has become a true extension of yourself, we carry it everywhere we go and we’ve found that everything we do and how we live leaves a molecular signature that we can pick up. You can see some of the results from past StuckOnU experiments at our website: www.metasub.org, we’ve conducted it at the 2017 JPM Healthcare Conference, the 2017 World Government Summit, 2017 ABRF meeting, 2018 Milken Global Conference, and most recently at the 2018 Wisconsin BioForward and Association for Molecular Pathologists (AMP) meetings.
This work is conducted as part of the MetaSUB (Metagenomics and Metadesign of Subways and Urban Biomes) consortium which was launched in 2015 after our publication of the NYC subway metagenome, PathoMap (www.pathomap.org). The MetaSUB consortium has grown to span over 75 cities across all 7 continents and we’ve collected over 20,000 samples over the past three years from subways, bus transit systems, and other urban setting samples. We have found that each city has a unique molecular signature whether it be from the organisms that make up the microbiome of the city’s surfaces or the presence of antimicrobial resistance genes. With our StuckOnU experiments, we are interested in seeing if we can trace your phone’s molecular signature back to the molecular signature of your city as well as to build improved baseline measures of human-associated metagenomes.