Eminent Harvard Geneticist Professor George Church Joins uBiome Advisory Board

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Microbial genomics leader uBiome has appointed visionary Harvard geneticist Professor George Church to its advisory board. Professor Church is a recognized giant in genetic science, whose work led to today’s “next generation” DNA sequencing methods.

When we obtained that very first genome sequence back in 1994, my colleagues and I had no idea that thirty years later it would be possible for citizens anywhere in the world to order a complete genomic analysis of their bacteria in the mail.

uBiome, the leading microbial genomics company, welcomes the appointment of distinguished Harvard geneticist Professor George Church to its advisory board.

George Church is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and Director of the Personal Genome Project, which aims to create open access genomic, environmental, and trait data for the greater good.

His pioneering 1984 Harvard PhD included the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing and “barcoding”—a research method enabling multiple samples to be simultaneously processed in DNA sequencing. His subsequent innovations have led to many of the “next generation” DNA sequencing methods used by uBiome and many other companies.

Professor Church’s work led directly to the determination of the world’s first genome sequence (of the bacterial species Helicobacter pylori) in 1994. Among other visionary discoveries, Professor Church led a 2012 Harvard project that could lead to an entirely new approach to data storage. His research team encoded the contents of an entire book into the genetic molecules of DNA, then accurately retrieved it. Professor Church forecast that using this approach, a device the size of a human thumb could store as much information as the whole internet.

Professor Church has co-authored 400 papers and 74 patents. He is also the author of the science book Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves.

uBiome is the world’s leading microbial genomics company, using next generation high-throughput DNA sequencing technology to generate detailed analysis of the human microbiome, the ecosystem of trillions of bacteria which populate the human body.

The majority of an individual’s bacteria is found in the gut, but there are dozens of other bacteria-harboring sites on the body, most with their own distinct microbial profiles.

Bacteria in the gut play a vital part in health, supporting digestion and the synthesis of vitamins. However, pathogenic bacteria are associated with a range of conditions, some of them serious, such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease—including both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, esophageal reflux and esophageal cancer, Clostridium difficile infection, colorectal cancer, and many others.

Professor Church notes, “When we obtained that very first genome sequence back in 1994, my colleagues and I had no idea that thirty years later it would be possible for citizens anywhere in the world to order a complete genomic analysis of their bacteria in the mail. uBiome has successfully made microbiome testing an accessible experience for citizen scientists. I look forward to supporting their future innovations.”

Jessica Richman, co-founder and CEO of uBiome, adds: “When Sir Isaac Newton spoke of standing on the shoulders of giants, he definitely had the likes of George Church in mind. Professor Church is a brilliant scientist, and we’re honored to have on our advisory board.”

uBiome was launched in 2012 by scientists and technologists educated at Stanford and UCSF after a crowdfunding campaign raised over $350,000 from citizen scientists, over triple its initial goal. The company is now funded by Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator, and other leading investors.

uBiome’s mission is to use big data to understand the human microbiome by giving users the power to learn about their bodies, perform experiments, and see how current research studies apply to them.

Contact:
Julie Taylor
julie(at)ubiome(dot)com
Ph: +1 (415) 212-9214

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uBiome
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