Population Based Microbiome Research Core (PMRC) – Wisconsin Microbiome Follow-up Study 2018

Principal Investigators: Ajay Sethi, MHS, PhD

Funding: UW VGRCE Grant, $250,000 was awarded overall

Study Aim: 

Few microbiome studies have stool/gut microbiome on a diverse study sample such as SHOW – urban/rural, variability in demographics. Most are clinical or convenience samples near research institutions. Also, among the first to have environmental samples with rerepeat longitudinal stool – and stored for future analyses, could look at pesticides, endotoxin, etc. in dust/soil and relationship with human microbiome for example.

The purpose of this study is to create a platform, resource, and infrastructure for continued and future microbiome research. PMRC aims to do this by following up with 2016 WARRIOR participants and collecting repeat stool samples, as well as first-time collection of environmental samples – soil from outside their home, swabs from high touch surfaces areas in their home, and dust from the living room. Samples are stored for in SHOW’s biorepository for investigators to use along with their baseline WARRIOR health data to investigate all sorts of microbiome questions, including household and environmental connections.

More About the Study:

Collection occurred in participant homes throughout Wisconsin: the 4 counties invited to SHOW core in 2016/ WARRIOR – Brown, Eau Claire, Waushara, and Milwaukee counties.

Stool, soil, high touch surface swabs, and dust biospecimen were collected at participant homes.

SHOW Services Leveraged:

  • Protocol Development for Sample Collection
  • Survey Development & Collection
    • In-Person, Paper and Online (REDcap)
  • Participant recruitment
    • Invited N=516
      • N=323 participated
    • Eligibility Criteria:
      • Adults (>18 years old)
      • Previous participation in SHOW Microbiome study (WARRIOR)
      • Completed stool collection in previous SHOW Wisconsin Microbiome study
    • Follow-up of SHOW participants, who were also WARRIOR participants
  • Human and Environmental Biospecimen Collection, Shipping, Processing & Storage
  • Field Staff, Field Staff Training & Supervision/Quality Control
  • Data cleaning


This study led to a publication, the pre-print of which can be accessed via MedRxiv.

One of the main goals of the PMRC is to serve as a platform for ancillary studies, ongoing follow-up of the cohort and expansion of the biorepository for integrated microbiome research. Several studies are ongoing, including (1) translational research using existing gut and oral microbiome data to test new and effective antimicrobial drugs and therapies to combat emerging resistant pathogens, (2) expansion of the biorepository and cohort to include children in order to assess the microbiome at several body sits and MDRO colonization in children attending day care, (3) expansion of the biorepository to include PBMC blood sample collection in order to determine how gut microbial composition and the resulting co-metabolome varies with chronological age and biological aging rate, (4) use of the existing data and biorepository to determine how gut dysbiosis and diversity is affected by heavy metal exposure and associations with metabolism, homeostasis, and inflammation. PMRC samples can expand the utility of these studies to understand household and outdoor contributions to human microbiome diversity, composition and function. For more information on using these data or leveraging the Wisconsin Microbiome Study for research grants or studies, contact the SHOW research team at researchers@show.wisc.edu, or submit a consultation request.

Learn more about SHOW’s research consultation process