About The Microbiome Project

UCR Microbiome Initiative

Despite their importance to life on Earth, we know very little about how microbes interact with each other, their hosts, or their environment.

The UCR Microbiome Initiative will help scholars and institutions (Colleges and Schools) to advance the science and bring greater understanding of useful applications in areas such as health care, agriculture, food production and environmental restoration. The initiative is meant to bring researchers together who focus on the microbiome from around the university, including the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS), the Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE) and the School of Medicine (SOM) and more.

Visit the UC Riverside Microbiome Initiative website to learn more



Through its research and educational outreach, the UCR Microbiome Initiative is part of the National Microbiome Initiative which is advancing microbiome science in ways that will benefit individuals, communities and the planet.

The motivation for this initiative here at the University of California, Riverside is to catalyze and bring together UCR’s talent working on microbiome related research. There is a big effort at UCR on understanding microbiome, the interaction between microbial communities and a host (plant, insect, worm, mammals) and/or the environment.  UCR has ongoing programs and activities but faculty working on this topic are spread across many departments and colleges - College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS), School of Medicine (SOM) and Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE).

The initiative goal is to facilitate integration, to help people find each other and collaborate, to better use and share resources among labs, enhance infrastructures and to create training activities for students.

Symposium Kicks Off New Microbiome Initiative for UCR

The UCR Microbiome “Initiative,” a new program meant to bring researchers together who focus on the microbiome from around the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (CNAS), the Bourns College of Engineering (BCOE) and the School of Medicine (SOM), held its Inaugural Symposium and Datablitz on Sept. 27, 2017.

"This could be a very useful template for future events to help jumpstart the interdisciplinary interactions among faculty that are the strength of UCR,” said Divisional Dean of Life Sciences, Frances M. Sladek. "Faculty in attendance found common ground that will lead to additional workshops, joint projects and grants."  Roughly 90 people attended from about 22 different labs/PIs, 9 graduate programs, 10 departments, 3 colleges and 3 centers.  The cross-campus interactions centered around a common theme — the microbes that co-inhabit plants, insects and other animals. Pictures from the 2017 inaugural event are posted on the CAFE facebook page. Join CAFE on Facebook!


The 2nd Annual Microbiome Symposium & data-blitz took place on September 25th 2018 at the UCR Genomic Conference Auditorium. The event brought together researchers from multiple fields across our campus, fostering interdisciplinary interactions. This year the symposium opened with a keynote lecture titled "Unraveling host-microbe interactions" from Dr Karsten Zengler (UC San Diego) and included a talk from Dr Anne Runkel from Koch Biological Solutions, information for funding opportunities on microbiome science from Dr Helen Chen (Grant facilitator for CNAS) and a crossdisciplinary discourse on microbiome from Dr Gloria Chan-Sook Kim (Assistant Professor of Media and Culture, CHASS) .   Here the detailed program of the 2018 microbiome symposium event and here more pictures from the event.

Initiative contact: Prof. of Biology Joel Sachs at joels@ucr.edu



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Find out who is working on microbiome related research at UCR and the upcoming events

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