Humans shed about 1.5 million microscopic skin cells, and ten times as many bacterial cells, every hour. These cells are transferred to numerous surfaces in a home via touch. What type of biological impression are we leaving on our home environments? If you are moving to a new home soon, then we need your help to find out.
We are looking for 20 people (four individual bachelors or bachelorettes between 18-30, four couples between 25-65, and two families with couples between 35-45 and two children 15 years old or younger) to participate in our study. Those relocating within the Chicagoland area are preferred, but all are welcome to apply. Households with cats, dogs, or uncaged birds are not eligible.
The goal of this study is to collect and examine the unique biological material shed by individuals throughout the normal course of a day to determine how rapidly their unique community of bacteria - called a microbiome - is established in their new home environment.
This study examines microbiota associated with the hands, feet, and nose of each individual, as well as those present on the most-often used doorknobs, light switches, floors, and countertops. You collect the data! ***This material is collected using swabs every other day for two weeks prior to moving, and four weeks following a move into a new home.*** All collection and storage materials will be provided to you. The research team will also ask you to note your cleaning schedule and some basic information about guests and visitors to the home for one month after moving in.
The results of this study will demonstrate the way in which we interact with the living surfaces of our home, and the fundamental impact humans have on the composition of microbes in their houses. The experimental design allows for a detailed examination of variables that make up the home environment, such as temperature and moisture, and how they favor different types of microbes shed by the human inhabitants.