Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Toys for kittens!

We haven't even begun to sample yet, but we already have toys picked out for the KMP kittens! Toys before science. Yup.

When your Naegleria is bigger than you, Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis is the least of your worries.

These fabulous microbe-shaped critters, modeled here by not-to-scale cat figures, include the beaver fever parasite, E. coli, and a delightful variety of flagellate free-living protists. They're made by Etsy seller Mycrobe and are stuffed with genuine hi-test catnip. You can follow the cat toys on Twitter at @mycrobecatnip. Thanks to KMP artist @artologica for the tip.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


The awesome @artologica has contributed another piece to the KMP and IT CAN BE YOURS FOR ONLY $40! Whoa!!!!

This one even includes appropriate Gram stain colours!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

HOLY KITTY CRAPS! Look at this amazing piece of kitten microbe art made for the KMP by the fabulous Artologica! (@artologica on the Twitter).
Figure 1. A collection of flagellate kitteh microflora as seen under the microscope. 

A logo!

The fabulous Jonathan Eisen, aka @phylogenomics, made a logo out of found letters! It's a mosaic, much like the microbial mosaics one can find on cat paws and noses!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Our first official figures!

Kitty Microbiome Project friend and new co-investigator Rob Beiko recently began collecting and analysing KMP samples from his kitty Bamboo, using the GenGIS mapping software developed in his lab.

In Figure 1, we see the distribution of microbial species across Bamboo in a normal state.
Figure 1. Bamboo is colonized by a number of novel species. A significant amount of mouse sequence was found in the oral sample.

In Figure 2, we can see the effect of Bamboo's tongue-bath.
Figure 1. Why look, the oral and anal micro biome have become one! We have achieved singularity!

Thank you Bamboo for this wonderful contribution. We look forward to you submitting future samples all over Rob's carpets.

I've done the power calculations and this is a perfectly legitimate sample size.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The KMP pays tribute to the ASM2012 conference! Courtesy KMP special friend Artologica.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Welcome to the Kitten Microbiome Project!

Welcome to the Kitten Microbiome Project! Believe it or not, this project was conceived by two actual and well-respected well-known scientists - Dr. Jennifer Gardy (BC Centre for Disease Control) and Dr. Jack Gilbert (Argonne National Laboratory). You can find them both on Twitter (@jennifergardy and @gilbertjacka) and you can follow the Kitten Microbiome's own Twitter account at @kittymicrobiome.

The genesis of the KMP came about at the 2012 Forum on Microbial Threats during a talk on deep-sea microbiology. Jennifer tweeted that she was scared of oceans and would think about kitten microbiomes instead.

The tweet that started it all.
Mere hours later, the project had a co-PI with the technical resources to handle the project, a social media presence, a website, and exactly $0 in funding. But it had a purpose! Two, actually. The first... to be the cutest, fluffiest microbiome project in the world. Second, to act as an outreach experiment - can sequencing 16s RNA derived from cat feces, cat mucosa, and other stinky cat bits actually get people excited about microbiome research? Can we get some crazy publicity and raise the public's awareness of this great big microbial world and all the cool work going on to study it? And can we get free cat food?

Stay tuned to find out.