If you sign up for one of Skin Deep I-III sampling kits, you should carefully read and follow the sampling instructions which will be provided with each kit, and briefly summarized in the protocol video.  The full detailed protocol is written and can be downloaded from this site a well.

The sampling kits will provide donors a profile of the bacteria with whom they live, provided they follow the detailed instructions for properly collecting their microbiome samples, included with their Skin Deep sampling kit.

      1. Samples will be requested from one or both of the following body sites:  
            a.  Crease region at the elbow (otherwise known as the antecubital fossa)
            b.  Area behind the ear, at the junction of the pinna and the post-auricular             
                  skin (retroauricle crease)

We request that you perform the sampling first thing in the morning, AND BEFORE you bathe.  This will diminish potential variation due to your environment or recent activities. The whole sampling procedure will take less than 5 minutes.

An abbreviated protocol is written below.

1.    Open and remove the sampling swab only on the day you plan to sample one of the above areas.  Once you remove the swab, it should NOT touch any surface other than your skin sample site (behind ear or elbow).  

2.    Rub the chosen area (either ear or elbow) with the swab tip by back and forth combined with rolling motions, about 30 times, or 1 minute.  Please try not to touch any other skin area or other surface.  When done, insert the swab carefully back into its plastic container and seal well.

​3.    Write the Sample ID Number we gave you , and also the location swabbed (ear or elbow) on your tube.

​4.    Store the sample in a refrigerator or freezer until it is ready to be mailed back to the lab.After sampling, swabs should be mailed back to us as promptly as possible via priority or overnight express mail (which we ask as a donation as well).  If possible, plan a sampling so that you can mail samples back to our laboratory within 24 hours.  If there is any delay in sending a swab after sampling, they can be kept in the freezer until mailing time. To limit contamination, please do not combine or mix the swabs.

Sampling swabs should only be used ONCE. If a contamination occurs, you may use the spare swab, or request a second swab from us.

​5.    Fill out BOTH the written questionnaire and the online questionnaire.To link to any changes in each microbial community we request that you fill out the  questionnaire, both written and online and linked to your sample ID number. When answering both questionnaires, please use the sample ID number given in your personal kit.  Fill in as many fields as you can or comfortable with.  The questions will focus mostly on parameters that may affect your skin microbiome composition. 

Mail back to our lab via Fedex or Priority mail:
Jose V. Lopez, Ph.D
c/o “Skin Microbiome Project” 
Oceanographic Center
Nova Southeastern University
8000 North Ocean Drive
Dania Beach, FL 33004
​Ph: 954-262-3665 

This mailing is considered part of your donation, as we will not provide mailing envelopes or postage costs.  We prefer Fedex, but US Postal Priority mail will also suffice.  Also, please try to use a little bit of bubble wrap or bubble wrapped envelope to prevent possible crushing of the sample in transit.

6.    If you decide to be part of the larger study (your data will be anonymous), please download the appropriate consent forms from this site, sign and mail in with your swab samples. After we receive your sample, we will process it for sequencing as fast as possible.  However we do have to wait to obtain a minimum batch of 75 before a MiSeq run will take place.  A detailed profile showing the types and amounts of bacteria generated with the universal 16S rRNA gene will be returned to you, similar to those shown on the example data page and the Grice and Segre (2011) research article.

The Skin Deep Microbiome Project