Universidad Nacional Litoral and CONICET in Santa Fe Launches Seminal Study of Human Microbiome in Argentina in Partnership with US Nonprofit OpenBiome

Press Release


Santa Fe, Argentina (November 29, 2023)—The Universidad Nacional Litoral de Sante Fe (UNL) and CONICET announce the launch of a seminal study of the Argentinian human microbiome in partnership with OpenBiome, a non-profit microbiome health organization in the United States. The research is part of the Global Microbiome Conservancy (GMbC), an international initiative to conserve, study, and share underrepresented human microbiome diversity.

The study is led by Gabriel Vinderola, Ph.D and Ana Binetti, Ph.D, and their team from the Institute of Industrial Lactology (INLAIN-UNL/CONICET). OpenBiome scientists Katya Moniz, Ph.D and June Teichmann will join the sampling effort, which began on November 27, 2023. Over two weeks, the researchers are collecting stool and saliva samples from approximately 100 study participants in Santa Fe city, as well rural agricultural and mountainous areas in Santa Fe and Cordoba provinces. Participants will also complete a survey on their diet, medications, home environment and other lifestyle factors that impact the gut microbiome.

The data and research materials will expand understanding of the microbiome—the communities of bacteria and other microorganisms living in and on the human body that play a vital role in metabolism, immunity, and other key health functions. To date, microbiome science has primarily focused on Western populations, limiting its potential impact on human health. This new study will provide a baseline for microbiome diversity in underrepresented regions; enable comparisons among different global populations; and test whether reducing the consumption of processed foods and antibiotics – the hallmarks of industrialized lifestyles – can help restore the microbiome to a healthier, more diverse state.

In addition, a copy of the samples and bacteria will also be housed in the GMbC library, a non-profit resource for the research community that provides access to previously unavailable biodiversity. The library is the most globally representative microbiome collection of its kind and houses stool samples, as well as associated bacterial isolates, from more than 1,300 individuals across 40 diverse, underrepresented communities.

“This study is of great importance for the local research group as it will create new capacities and will help to consolidate the expertise of the team on microbiome studies,” said Dr. Vinderola. “It will also allow us to produce high quality papers that will give the University international visibility.”

“We are thrilled to partner with INLAIN-UNL/CONICET. Argentina is the first South American country to be represented in the GMbC initiative,” said Dr. Moniz. “ Dr Vinderola and Dra. Binetti are leaders in researching the microbiome, nutrition, and related health effects in Argentinian populations and we are excited to be working with them to study and conserve this vital resource for public health.”

Contact:Email media@openbiome.org     


 About the Universidad Nacional Litoral de Santa Fe

The National University of Litoral (Universidad Nacional de Litoral) was created in 1919, as well as the Faculty of Industrial and Agricultural Chemistry, which in the 1950s changed its name to the current Faculty of Chemical Engineering. Consistent with the needs of the industrial development of the Nation, this event marks an important milestone for the country and all South America, since it would become the first academic unit to offer the Chemical Engineering program.

The leader of chemical engineering in the country and undisputed model of the institutions that would later offer the same specialty, over the years the Faculty of Chemical Engineering of the UNL added to its traditional career other undergraduate and postgraduate programs that position it as an educational and cultural reference in the region and the country.

The UNL community is composed by more than 50,000 undergraduate students, more than 3,000 doctoral and master students and 3,000 professors. The UNL ranks 8 in the list of 100 Universities in Argentina.


About OpenBiome
OpenBiome accelerates bold discoveries in microbiome science—ethically and equitably– to improve health for all. As a pioneering nonprofit, OpenBiome advances therapies and catalyzes cutting edge research to unlock the full potential of the human microbiome.

Since its founding at MIT in 2012, OpenBiome has provided investigational fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) treatments to more than 68,000 patients with recurrent C. difficile infections and supported over 40 studies investigating how the microbiome affects human health. OpenBiome is now partnering with scientists around the world to build a more inclusive microbiome research ecosystem that addresses the health needs of all.


About the Global Microbiome Conservancy
The Global Microbiome Conservancy (GMbC) is nonprofit initiative that conserves and promotes understanding of global human microbiome diversity to advance public health. To date, the GMbC has established a network of 90+ researchers in over three dozen countries and built a diverse collection of samples and bacterial isolates to spark scientific discovery and enable new solutions to microbiome-associated disease.


The GMbC was founded in 2016 by scientists Mathieu Groussin, PhD and Mathilde Poyet, PhD in the laboratory of Professor Eric Alm at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with seed funding from the Center for Microbiome Informatics and Therapeutics and key support from Dr. Ramnik Xavier of the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital.



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