The MetaSUB Consortum publication A global metagenomic map of urban microbiomes and antimicrobial resistance has been recognised among the Cell Press best publications for 2021. One of the publication's authors is Dr hab. Paweł Łabaj, leader of the Bioinformatics Research Group, national coordinator of the MetaSUB Consortium as well as co-founder of the MetaSUB Europe association.
A major project of the MetaSUB consortium is global City Sampling Day (gCSD), which takes place annually on June 21. During gCSD, DNA, RNA, and microbial samples are collected in cities around the world from surfaces in metros or other urban transportation means. The collected samples are then sequenced and analysed to produce a genetic map depicting in detail the microbial community inhabiting each participating city. The featured article presents the results of an analysis of nearly five thousand samples from 60 cities around the world from the first years of the consortium activities.
From 2020, the gCSD also takes place in Kraków. Based on the data collected during subsequent editions of the project Dr hab. Paweł Łabaj and his team from the Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology at the Jagiellonian University will present a microbiological 'fingerprint' of Kraków's urban space.
The consortium is also conducting other large-scale research, which involves other researchers from the Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology as well as other units of the Jagiellonian University:
- MetaCoV: collection and analysis of environmental samples during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to characterise changes in the urban metagenome and possibly isolate SARS-CoV-2 virus (teams of Dr hab. Paweł Łabaj, Prof. Wojciech Branicki and Prof. Krzysztof Pyrć in collaboration with the Municipality of Kraków),
- MetaSEW: periodical metagenomic analysis of sewage systems to determine estimated number of each detected microorganism species (teams of Prof. Krzysztof Pyrć and Dr hab. Paweł Łabaj),
- MetaMED: collection and analysis of samples from hospital/medical environments in order to compare the microbiome in these environments with the microbiome in other public spaces in the context of the presence of drug resistance markers as well as viruses (Dr hab. Anna Różańska, Dr hab. Magdalena Chmielarczyk, Dr hab. Michał Pędziwiatr, Dr hab. Michał Nowakowski, Prof. Krzysztof Pyrć and Dr hab. Paweł Łabaj). Currently, together with the partners from the Jagiellonian University Medical College and the University Hospital in Kraków, a grant is being implemented within the National Centre for Research and Development's support for speciality hospitals.
- MetaAIR: metagenomic analysis of aerosol samples in urban space (Dr hab. Paweł Łabaj).
With regards to the projects undertaken by MetaSUB consortium and involvement of researchers from Małopolska Centre of Biotechnology, it is necessary to emphasise their great importance not only in the area of basic or applied research, but also in the context of impact on society.
In the time of the pandemic, the MetaSUB projects inspired some of the activities undertaken by the interdisciplinary team for SARS-CoV-2 virus research established at the MCB. The team undertook multidirectional research aimed at tracking the occurrence of the virus in Kraków, developing diagnostics, as well as research on the biology of infection and new treatment methods. The team's activities were appreciated and in 2021 the Award of the City of Kraków was given to Prof. Krzysztof Pyrć (individual prize) and Prof. Wojciech Branicki and Dr hab. Paweł Łabaj (team prize - on behalf of the rest of the team).
The awarded publication can be read on the Science Direct website.