Metagenomics & Metadesign of Subways & Urban Biomes (MetaSUB)
Mass-transit systems represent unique urban biomes, microbiomes, and metagenomes. These subterranean and above-ground structures are ubiquitous and the interactions between passengers and the subway surfaces define perhaps one of the world’s largest, high-traffic, and universal built environments. Also, these subway surfaces define the daily commute for millions of people every single day and billions of people each year. The microbiome constitutes an important element of our environment: bacterial cells in and on our bodies outnumber human cells by a 10:1 ratio, contribute as much as 36% of the active molecules present in the human bloodstream, and serve as a key mediator of human health. Yet, how humans may interact with (or acquire) new species of bacteria depends on the environment they are exposed to, the types of surfaces they touch, and the physical dynamics of their environment. This is especially true in dense, built environments such as cities, wherein the majority of the world’s population (54%) currently live. Read more….
We work in collaboration with other international partners to study the mass-transit systems around the world. In Nigeria, we are looking into our various transport systems to understand the microbiome of these systems.