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What Are You Made Of?

Saturdays and Sundays through April 30, 2017


Join a groundbreaking new project to help scientists understand how microbes contribute to human health.

We tend to think of bacteria and viruses as harmful agents of disease. But, as visitors to the Museum’s new exhibition The Secret World Inside You learned, most of the microscopic organisms that live on and in us are in fact keeping us healthy.

To learn more about these beneficial microbes, the American Museum of Natural History is teaming up with researchers from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health for a first-of-its-kind study. And you can help! 

Drop by the Sackler Educational Laboratory in the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins on Saturday or Sunday afternoons to share a few of your microbes for our study. 

Healthy Microbiome Project staff will swab for microbe samples from your hands, mouth, and nostrils. The samples will be processed to help researchers learn more about the composition of the healthy human microbiome (bacteria) and virome (viruses). Please note that while general information like age, gender, and hometown will be collected, all samples will be handled anonymously.

Must be 18 to participate in the swabbing.

Generous support for The Secret World Inside You and its educational resources have been provided by the Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation and the Milstein Family.

The Secret World Inside You is proudly supported by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies
of Johnson & Johnson.

The Secret World Inside You is supported by the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The media partner for What Are You Made Of? is WNYC’s “Only Human.”