Publications and Research


Ebrahim Afshinnekoo, CUNY Queens College
Cem Meydan, Cornell University
Shanin Chowdhury, CUNY Hunter College
Dyala Jaroudi, Cornell University
Collin Boyer, Cornell University
Nick Bernstein, Cornell University
Julia M. Maritz, New York University
Darryl Reeves, Cornell University
Jorge Gandara, Cornell University
Sagar Chhangawala, Cornell University
Sofia Ahsanuddin, CUNY Brooklyn College
Amber Simmons, Cornell University
Timothy Nessel, Cornell University
Bharathi Sundaresh, Cornell University
Elizabeth Pereira, Cornell University
Ellen Jorgensen, Genspace Community Laboratory
Sergios-Orestis Kolokotronis, Fordham University
Nell Kirchberger, Cornell University
Isaac Garcia, Cornell University
David Gandara, Cornell University
Sean Dhanraj, CUNY Brooklyn College
Tanzina Nawrin, CUNY Brooklyn College
Yogesh Saletore, Cornell University
Noah Alexander, Cornell University
Priyanka Vijay, Cornell University
Elizabeth M. Hénaff, Cornell University
Paul Zumbo, Cornell University
Michael Walsh, SUNY Downstate
Gregory D. O'Mullan, CUNY Queens College
Scott Tighe, University of Vermont
Joel T. Dudley, Icahn School of Medicine
Anya Dunaif, Rockefeller University
Sean Ennis, University College Dublin
Eoghan O'Halloran, University College Dublin
Tiago R. Magalhaes, University College Dublin
Braden Boone, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
Angela L. Jones, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
Theodore R. Muth, CBM
Katie Schneider Paolantonio, CUNY Hunter College
Elizabeth Alter, CUNY York College
Eric E. Schadt, Icahn School of Medicine
Jeanne Garbarino, Rockefeller University
Robert J. Prill, IBM
Jane M. Carlton, New York University
Shawn Levy, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology
Christopher E. Mason, Cornell University

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The panoply of microorganisms and other species present in our environment influence human health and disease, especially in cities, but have not been profiled with metagenomics at a city-wide scale. We sequenced DNA from surfaces across the entire New York City (NYC) subway system, the Gowanus Canal, and public parks. Nearly half of the DNA (48%) does not match any known organism; identified organisms spanned 1,688 bacterial, viral, archaeal, and eukaryotic taxa, which were enriched for harmless genera associated with skin (e.g., Acinetobacter). Predicted ancestry of human DNA left on subway surfaces can recapitulate U.S. Census demographic data, and bacterial signatures can reveal a station’s history, such as marine-associated bacteria in a hurricane-flooded station. Some evidence of pathogens was found (Bacillus anthracis), but a lack of reported cases in NYC suggests that the pathogens represent a normal, urban microbiome. This baseline metagenomic map of NYC could help long-term disease surveillance, bioterrorism threat mitigation, and health management in the built environment of cities


This article was originally published in Cell Systems, available at doi:10.1016/j.cels.2015.01.001.

This article was published under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY).



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