A group of 5 scientists walking through a dried river bed.


Photo Credit: GMbC team crosses the dry Lake Eyasi, Tanzania. ©Global Microbiome Conservancy / Photo by C. Corzett

Conserving and Sharing Microbiome Diversity

The Global Microbiome Conservancy (GMbC) is a new flagship program at OpenBiome dedicated to creating a library that represents the global diversity of the human microbiome. By making these resources available to researchers around the world, OpenBiome expands access to transformative microbiome science.

The Microbiome: A New Frontier in Human Health


The Global Microbiome Conservancy (GMbC) program is working with a team of scientists from around the world to radically expand our view of the human microbiome and grow research capacity worldwide. We have assembled and are sharing the most globally representative collection of microbiome samples and data to catalyze groundbreaking research.

Photo Credit: GMbC co-founder Mathilde Poyet, culturing and isolating anaerobic human gut associated bacteria. ©Global - Microbiome Conservancy / Photo by Justin Knight

Why We Urgently Need a Global Microbiome Conservancy

Microbiome research is transforming our understanding of human health but we are leaving many behind.

Current knowledge of the microbiome is largely focused on populations in the United States and Western Europe. Approximately 70% of samples available in public databases come from North America and Europe while 140 countries and territories have zero representation.

To fill this critical gap, the GMbC works to ensure that all communities—from Thailand to Malaysia, Canada to Senegal—have equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from this emerging science.

Since 2016, the GMbC collection has radically expanded scientists' view of the microbiome by cataloguing the stool samples of 1,200+ participants from over 30 previously underrepresented communities.



Photo Credit: Memorandum of Agreement ceremony between the GMbC and the University of Malaya, Malaysia. ©Global Microbiome Conservancy / Photo by C. Corzett

A group of three scientists at a mobile lab pouring liquid nitrogen onto samples


Photo Credit: The GMbC team fills a cryotank with liquid nitrogen in Thailand. ©Global Microbiome Conservancy / Photo by C. Corzett

The Time to Act is Now

Human microbiome diversity—a foundation for life and health—is rapidly disappearing due to industrialization. As more of us live in cities, eat processed foods, and use antibiotics, we are losing the opportunity to study how humans and bacteria interact across a wide range of diets, lifestyles, and environments.

The GMbC program is a response to these challenges and, more importantly, the tremendous need for a deeper understanding of the microbiome and more inclusive science.



Photo Credit: Microbiome samples flash frozen in liquid nitrogen in rural Senegal. ©Global Microbiome Conservancy / Photo by F. Rondon

Core GMbC Activities

  • An illustration of a diver in a collection of bacteria

    COLLECT: Sample a diverse range of microbiomes from around the world, prioritizing underrepresented communities.

  • An icon of a collection of stool samples

    BIOBANK: Characterize, culture, and conserve microbiome samples as well as bacterial isolates. Generate high quality sequencing data, and metadata. 

  • An icon of two scientists holding test tubes

    SHARE: Provide researchers with access to biomaterials and data.

  • An illustration of a scientist with various lab equipment

    SUPPORT: Build research capacity in under-resourced settings and create value for participating communities.

Convening a Global Community

We are privileged to work with the GMbC consortium, a global network of researchers. Their expertise and commitment has built the GMbC program into what it is today. The links provided share more information about the GMbC team, the research consortium, and our team.

GMbC By the Numbers


Participants from underrepresented communities included in the GMbC library


Metagenomic surveys performed on individual stool samples to analyze bacterial composition


Genome-sequenced bacterial cultures prepared as a research tool


Research collaborators in more than three dozen countries worldwide

Connect With Us

Contact us to learn how you can engage with the GMbC program. We’re happy to discuss new ideas for sample collection, research collaborations, or simply our shared passion for microbiome science!

The Global Microbiome Conservancy (GMbC) Program at OpenBiome


GMbC Guiding Principles

We believe that the development of local scientific capacity – as well as the inclusion and empowerment of historically marginalized communities – is paramount for the equitable advancement of public health, economic growth, and educational opportunities worldwide.



Photo Credit: Artic Bay, Canada: One of the the coldest inhabited places on earth. ©Global Microbiome Conservancy / Photo by Le Thanh Tu Nguyen 

History of the GMbC

The Global Microbiome Conservancy (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 (United States), 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.

Professors Mathieu Groussin, PhD and Mathilde Poyet, PhD run a joint academic laboratory at Kiel University (Germany), and are the academic leaders of the international GMbC consortium. Groussin and Poyet are also co-chairs of the Scientific and Ethics Advisory Board (SEAB) of the GMbC program at OpenBiome.

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

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