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.