The NIAID Microbiome Program has been expanding over the past year in functionality and capacity. Our microbiome sequencing platform has converted standard protocol to robotic operation in 96 sample format--increasing efficiency and standardization. In addition, the sequencing platform has expanded functionality that has led to new collaborations. We have optimized sequencing for a novel technique that identifies microbiome constituents that trigger immune responses, which will play a key role in several new collaborations involving NIAID VRC vaccine trials. In addition, we are also expanded our sequencing capabilities to include Oxford Nanopore Technologies, which is playing a central role in our new exploration of the viral component of the microbiome. In its first full year, our microbiology core has developed pipelines for isolating a variety of bacterial families which play key roles in the gut and skin microbiota. Of particular interest is our ability isolate several strains of previously unculturable or unidentified bacteria this year, which are currently being used in functional murine studies.
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