The vaginal microbiome has been correlated with health issues such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The patient giving the sample may have sensitivities in the vagina and surrounding area so sample collection must be done by a professional in a clinic, or at home using a validated self-collection kit (see information below). Our team  can advise on a workflow that meets your needs.

Our expertise includes:

  • Advanced extraction methods for consideration of particularly robust microbes in the system
  • Total bacterial quantification via qPCR to initially assess the amplification of bacteria in each sample
  • rRNA gene sequencing to determine, at a high level, the role of various microbes
  • Shotgun metagenome sequencing for a higher resolution of both taxonomic and functional outputs
  • Bioinformatic reporting with a firm understanding of advanced analysis

Services we offer:

DRY SWABS: For dry swabs we recommend using the Becton-Dickinson, BBL CultureSwab EZ II which includes a double-swab encased in a rigid non-breathable transport tube. For all other dry swabs make sure to keep the wrapper for transport to our lab. It is recommended to use two swabs (or one BD DBL CultureSwab II) to maximize your DNA content per sampling session. Samples should be stored in the -80 (preferably not the -20) and shipped to our lab on dry ice; overnight or two day shipping.

DEVICES WITH BUFFER: Both Norgen Biotek and DNA Genotek Inc. are manufacturers of biological specimen collection devices that incorporate a lytic stabilization buffer for storage at ambient temperature. See the Resources section below for a quick link to the recommended kits. Please refer to each manufacturer for more details on shelf life and stability. Samples collected in these devices can be stored at room temperature and need not be shipped on dry ice.