The Wild Life of Your Body

Project: Armpit Life

Project Status: Pilot stage

Participation: We need citizen scientists! (stay tuned for details)

Project Description:

You responded overwhelmingly to belly buttons so why not explore another body part… the armpit? With our friends Julie Horvath-Roth, Julie Urban and David Kroll from the Nature Research Center @ the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, we hope to figure out exactly what kinds of microbes are living in our armpits, what those species might be doing in there, and if/how those species differ among people and our closest evolutionary relatives (primates!)

We’re still in the pilot stage for this project – in other words, we’re trying to work out the kinks in the lab with a small number of samples to make sure the genetic analyses we want to do will actually work.

Stay tuned here for more ways you can get involved. In the meantime, check out what Rob Dunn has to say about how mammals use the eau de bacteria created in their apocrine glands to chemically communicate with one another.

Update:

In August, we conducted a small study (affectionately termed ‘PitStart’) to determine what effects antiperspirants and deodorants have on microbial growth. You can follow the experiment in progress on the News and Stories page.