What Is The Human Microbiome Project? A Visual Explanation

The National Institutes of Health’s Human Microbiome Project began in 2008, studying 250 healthy people’s microbiome (the microbiome counterpart to the Human Genome Project).  The first phase of the project completed in 2012 with the primary goal to identify and develop a reference set of the complete human microbiome based on the 250 healthy people’s samples.  The microbiome is made up of trillions of microbes in and around your body, and everything you put on and in your body plus your environmental interactions (pollution in the air, for example) can affect it.

The second phase of the project is underway and due to complete in 2015, and is looking at the relationship between microbiome and “diseases of interest”, which would include autoimmune conditions.  The NIH project is one of seven international microbiome research efforts to understand the human microbiome.

The full link for all five microbiome infographics provides an excellent overview for those of us non-scientists.  Continued thanks to talented scientific artist Perrin Ireland for helping us understand the most promising research into cause and maybe even someday a cure for autoimmune conditions.

microbiome 1

microbiome 3



About the Author
Katie Cleary is founder of  She lives with three autoimmune conditions, her husband, kids and mini labradoodle dog in Austin, Texas.

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