Jeremy E. Wilkinson http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8024-5600
Long H. Nguyen http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5436-4219
Jacques Izard http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5904-5436
Shelley S. Tworoger http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6986-7046
Mingyang Song http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1324-0316
Date of this Version
Published in Nature Protocols, Vol 16 (June 2021), pp 2724–2731
A lack of prospective studies has been a major barrier for assessing the role of the microbiome in human health and disease on a population-wide scale. To address this significant knowledge gap, we have launched a large-scale collection targeting fecal and oral microbiome specimens from 20,000 women within the Nurses’ Health Study II cohort (the Microbiome Among Nurses study, or Micro-N). Leveraging the rich epidemiologic data that have been repeatedly collected from this cohort since 1989; the established biorepository of archived blood, urine, buccal cell, and tumor tissue specimens; the available genetic and biomarker data; the cohort’s ongoing follow-up; and the BIOM-Mass microbiome research platform, Micro-N furnishes unparalleled resources for future prospective studies to interrogate the interplay between host, environmental factors, and the microbiome in human health. These prospectively collected materials will provide much-needed evidence to infer causality in microbiome-associated outcomes, paving the way toward development of microbiota-targeted modulators, preventives, diagnostics and therapeutics. Here, we describe a generalizable, scalable and cost-effective platform used for stool and oral microbiome specimen and metadata collection in the Micro-N study as an example of how prospective studies of the microbiome may be carried out.