Better skin microbiome analyses using new 16S V4 region primers developed by Microbiome Insights’ scientific team

Over the past several years the Microbiome Insights team has invested in the development of new tools and techniques for obtaining high-quality, actionable skin microbiome data for our partners and clients in the cosmetics and dermatology industry.

When designing a new skin microbiome study, we always have an important discussion: which variable region should be sequenced? Although many assume that, for characterizing skin bacteria, primers targeting regions V1-3 are superior to those targeting the V4 region, it’s not so straightforward.

All current primers have their limitations—namely, that they underestimate the abundance of some skin-dwelling bacteria, poorly capturing skin commensals.

Our team members Pedro Dimitriu and Hilary Leung redesigned the V4 primer pair under the direction of Microbiome Insights co-founder Dr. Bill Mohn, and found that the new primers resulted in the detection of more bacterial genera, while improving error rates. The new primer also addressed a main limitation of common primers used for the v4 region: it can detect Propionibacterium acnes—the most abundant human skin bacterium.

Thus, we are now pleased to offer our clients this exclusive V4_skin primer in order to help them make the most of their skin microbiome surveys.

Improved bacterial 16S rRNA gene (V4 region) primers for skin microbiome surveys

Download the PDF version of this v4_skin poster.

If you’re thinking about designing a skin microbiome study, be sure to read our blog posts on both sampling and amplicon sequencing.

Contact our scientific team to learn more, or catch us in person at the upcoming Hanson Wade Skin Health & Dermatology Conference, September 10th to 12th in San Diego!

How Microbiome Insights can help with your Canadian microbiome research grant application

Competition for funding can be tough—but if you’re applying to a Canadian granting agency to fund a microbiome study, the Microbiome Insights team will be pleased to help. Some granting agencies require you to name an industry partner—and as the leading Canadian industry partner dedicated to microbiome testing and bioinformatic analysis, we are positioned to help your application be as successful as possible.

Here are some frequently asked questions about how we can help with microbiome research grant applications in Canada.

What kinds of testing does Microbiome Insights do?

Microbiome Insights has a full suite of sequencing options—some of which may not be readily available at your own institution. Our services include amplicon sequencing (16S V4, 16S V1-V3, 16S V4_skin, 18S, ITS2 and Archaeal V4-V5), shotgun metagenomics, and bacterial whole genome sequencing; in addition to sequencing we run short-chain fatty acid analyses and calprotectin testing. If these are relevant to your research, please contact us for more information on pricing, turnaround time, and support. Feel free to include our details in your grant application to show you’ve got everything lined up and ready to go for your research.

How flexible are the services?

While an end-to-end service is appealing to some, it doesn’t suit everyone. We can provide the full end-to-end service if needed or we can provide only the parts that make sense to you: for example, if you’re interested in learning more about bioinformatics yourself, you can obtain raw data from our team and explore the data on your own. Under this model, you’ll be able to leverage our wet lab standards while continuing to grow your own understanding of the microbiome.

Everything we do it price sensitive, so we have the ability charge per sample rather than having you lock into a full plate or a full run.

How can partnering with Microbiome Insights make the grant application stronger?

Including us in your grant applications shows you have strong collaborators and leading expertise on your side, bridging to the knowledge of our team and our co-founders (Drs. Brett Finlay and Bill Mohn). Through us, you’ll be able to secure expertise and support in the areas where you need it, and you’ll be able to access industry standards and proven pipelines. Moreover, you can be assured that all of this is done in Canada, with leading Canadian experts in the field.

What specific assistance can the Microbiome Insights team offer for grant applications?

We’ll consult with you to better understand (and draft, if necessary) the study design. We can give you guidelines on collection and transport to insert into your application, and can provide a mock report of the results if required. Our team members can also be hired to write a detailed results or methods section for your application.

Most importantly, we also offer a letter of support which details your study objectives, our deliverables for services and reporting, along with workflows and pricing. These details are key features of your submission, and we are always able to edit the details as funding is released.

How many Microbiome Insights clients come from academia?

The majority of our clients at present come from academia and publish their results in leading journals. If you choose to partner with us, you’ll have access to the same exceptional team that’s used by well-known researchers worldwide.

Contact us today!

Microbiome Insights co-founder Dr. Brett Finlay to speak at Institut Pasteur event

Microbiome Insights co-founder and co-CSO Brett Finlay will be one of the distinguished speakers heading to Paris from October 15th to 16th 2018 for the Institut Pasteur meeting: Modeling the Mammalian Microbiota Host Superorganism, Current Tools and Challenges.

Knowledge about the role of microbiota and microbial metabolites in host functions and health has steadily increased over the past two decades. With mechanistic insights enabled by animal models and an increasing ability to characterize microbial communities during both development and adulthood, researchers are on the cusp of real therapeutic treatments. The Institut Pasteur meeting will bring together academic and industry leaders from this field to share new visions on host-microbiota mutualisms and parasitism, and to discuss the latest techniques and models. Along with Dr. Finlay, some exciting names on the program include Dr. Andrew Macpherson of Inselspital in Bern, Switzerland, giving the keynote address, and Marion Leclerc from the MICALIS Institute in Jouy-En-Josas, France and Philippe Sansonetti of Institut Pasteur.

Finlay will present his talk, entitled The Role of the Early Life Microbiota in Malnutrition and Environmental Enteropathy during the ‘Models of Pathogenesis’ session on Monday, October 15th. He has published over 500 papers and, as a principal investigator at the University of British Columbia he studies how microbes interact with hosts to influence health and disease. His lab developed the first animal model for the study of environmental enteropathy, a key feature of childhood malnutrition. Ongoing work with this model is now funded by the Gates Foundation in order to explore how it can better our understanding of the consequences of malnutrition. The Finlay lab also investigates the risks for childhood asthma stemming from microbiota and metabolic alterations during infancy, and were the first lab to demonstrate that early life intestinal microbiota plays a crucial role in asthma susceptibility.

By understanding how microbes colonize the small intestine and cause stunted growth and inflammation, Finlay and his collaborators hope to develop new nutritional therapies for human malnutrition. His lab’s work is essential for understanding the microbiota-host superorganism and the associations that are essential to maintain good health and development—making Finlay a “can’t miss” speaker at this prestigious meeting.