Our Story and Mission

OpenBiome is building a world where the full potential of the microbiome radically improves health for all.

Modern Medicine, Cutting-Edge Research

A scientist wearing lab attire and looking forward

OpenBiome accelerates bold discoveries in microbiome science to improve health for all. We are an independent nonprofit that catalyzes cutting edge research, advances treatment, and expands scientific capacity to unlock the full potential of the microbiome.

A room in the OpenBiome office, with a rounded window and a stool-shaped pillow on the couch

How We Work

  • Mission_Icon1

    Catalyzing Research: Build and openly share the world’s most globally representative collection of samples and strains to fill critical gaps in microbiome science.

  • Mission_Icon2

    Advancing Treatment: Harness the healing power of gut microbes by providing clinicians with protocols and treatments to help people with recurrent C. difficile infections and other microbiome-mediated diseases.

  • Mission_Icon3

    Expanding Scientific Capacity: Build global scientific capacity and share microbiome therapy know-how with all researchers, especially those on the frontline of infectious disease treatment.

The Story of OpenBiome

The human gut is teeming with trillions of bacteria and microbes. Understanding this mysterious part of our body is key to unlocking the future of medicine.

At OpenBiome, we’ve seen the therapeutic power of bacteria firsthand. Here’s a look at our journey so far to advance microbiome science.

  • A Life-Changing Fecal Transplant

    January 1, 2011

    A close friend of ours contracts a life-threatening C. difficile infection after a routine surgery. We watch him struggle through several rounds of failed antibiotic treatment for 18 months. After receiving a fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), his health rebounds within a few days.

    Learn more about FMT
  • OpenBiome is Founded

    January 15, 2013

    OpenBiome started as an initiative run out of an MIT-based laboratory. In 2013, we were officially founded as an independent nonprofit devoted to expanding access to FMT and catalyzing microbiome research.

    Meet Our Team
  • The First OpenBiome Treatment

    November 14, 2013

    OpenBiome ships its first FMT treatment to a hospital in Oakland, California. The patient—a 91-year-old woman who has experienced three recurrences of C. difficile—recovers from the infection.

    See Our Imapct
  • Reaching New Milestones

    February 1, 2016

    OpenBiome manufactures and ships its 10,000th FMT treatment.

  • Expanding Our Mission Globally

    March 1, 2017

    OpenBiome launches the Global Health Microbiome Initiative. Our first study explores whether FMT can help treat severe acute malnutrition in children. It's the first FMT clinical trial on the African continent.

    How We Work With Researchers
  • Another Milestone Met

    September 1, 2021

    OpenBiome manufactures and ships its 60,000th FMT treatment.

  • Logo of the Global Microbiome Conservancy

    Welcoming the Global Microbiome Conservancy to OpenBiome

    September 1, 2022

    OpenBiome assumes leadership of the Global Microbiome Conservancy (GMbC), a nonprofit initiative founded at MIT, and welcomes it as a flagship program. As part of OpenBiome, the GMbC will scale up its mission of collaborating with a diverse network of scientists to build a globally representative microbiome library.

    Learn About The GMbC
A scientist in the lab holding two bacteria cultures (petri dishes) in an anaerobic chamber

Our Next Step: Unlocking the Potential of the Microbiome

OpenBiome, through its flagship program the Global Microbiome Conservancy (GMbC), is providing scientists with tools and resources to make breakthrough discoveries.

Currently, microbiome research is limited by a biased and narrow view of the microbiome that focuses on U.S. and European populations.

The GMbC library—containing samples from more than 1,200 participants from over 30 underpresented communities—fills this critical gap by providing scientists with a globally representative view of the microbiome and ensures that people from across the world can benefit from new discoveries.

“Over the past decade, we’ve shown the transformative power of the microbiome in treating patients with recurrent C. difficile. We’re excited to take the next step and use our expertise to catalyze microbiome research around the world.”

— Julie Barrett O’Brien, Chief Executive Officer at OpenBiome


Help Grow Our Impact

We have a passion for improving public health through the bacteria in us all. Learn more about our impact and join us on our journey of scientific service and discovery.

A group of scientists in lab coats and purple rubber gloves holding a box of stool samples and giving thumbs up

Help us build a world where the full potential of the microbiome radically improves health for all

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