November 12, 2021

Launch of the Microbiota Vault pilot project in Switzerland

The Microbiota Vault is a non-profit initiative, steered by an international team of microbiome researchers, that undertakes to preserve the global human microbiome diversity, currently under pressure by urban lifestyle and environmental change. Founded in 2019, the initiative plans to work in close collaboration with local working collections and develop a strong microbiome network of experts around the globe. The NCCR Microbiomes is a network partner of the Microbiota Vault.

The Microbiota Vault is now launching a 2-year pilot project in Switzerland, for a cost of CHF 1 million. Pascale Vonaesch (University of Lausanne and NCCR Microbiomes) is a member of the launch team and will be specifically involved in the collection and transport of samples from around the world. During the pilot phase, up to 2,000 microbiome samples will then be stored in the laboratory of Adrian Egli (University of Basel); at a later phase, the repository of microbiome samples will be transferred to a repurposed military bunker. Nicholas Bokulich (ETH Zurich), another member of the Swiss launch team, will contribute to the metagenome analysis of the vault samples.

The Microbiota Vault initiative is financially supported by the Seerave Foundation, the Gebert Rüf Stiftung, the Calouste Gulbekian Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.   

The launch of the Microbiota Vault was featured in this NZZ article (in German).