• Participate in our research
  • Participate in our research

The Healthy Optimal Australian Microbiome (HOAM) Study

What does the ultimate healthy microbiome look like?  Researchers at UNSW Microbiome Research Centre are trying to find out!

What is the microbiome?

Living within each one of us are many communities of microorganisms (or microbes). While some microbes can coexist within our bodies without causing harm, or indeed promoting health, others are responsible for causing disease. Microorganisms, just like humans and other organisms, contain DNA.  The collective term for DNA belonging to the microorganisms which live within us is called the “microbiome”.

Why is the microbiome important?

The microbiome plays an important role in maintaining the health of the person that they reside within, the host.  They can play an important role in the development and maintenance of the immune system, and regulation of the metabolism through the production of short-chain fatty acids.  Additionally, the microbiome has known roles in the gut-brain axis as well as providing resistance to inflammation, infection and disease-causing -pathogenic microorganisms.

There is an abundance of research demonstrating the interplay of the microbiome and diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and liver disease however, there is still a massive gap in our understanding of what a “normal” and “healthy” microbiome looks like.  Through the HOAM Study, researchers at UNSW Microbiome Research Centre hope to shed some light on this by defining what the ultimate-healthy and normal microbiome looks like.

How you can help

To make this study a success, we are seeking participants for several groups. These include

  • Teenagers (age 13- 18) Open for recruitment
  • Adults (age 19 to 65) who are not active more than 3 h per weekOpen for recruitment
  • Very Senior adults (age 95) Open for recruitment
  • Senior and very senior adults with a clinical diagnosis of dementia (age 65 plus) Open for recruitment
  • Elite and professional athletes (age 19-45) Open for recruitment
  • Adults (age 19-65) who are active more than 3 h per week –Not currently open for recruitment
  • Senior adults (65 plus) Not currently open for recruitment

This is a non-intervention study, so there are no medications or treatments to undergo. If you take part in the study, you would be asked to provide a sample of your poo (stool), a blood sample and an oral swab as well as complete some clinical assessments.  Additionally, you will be asked to complete some surveys about your health, lifestyle and medical history and some tests of your cognition.


You may be eligible to participate in this study if you:

  • Can provide a stool, blood, urine and oral swab samples
  • Can have some clinical measures taken e.g. height, weight and blood pressure
  • Can complete a survey about your diet, mood, and lifestyle
  • Can complete a computer-based ‘brain-game’ cognition test (optional)
  • Have not had antibiotics in the last 3 months
  • Have not had major gastrointestinal surgery such as bowel resection or bariatric surgery

How to participate

Click the join the study button below, complete the short survey and a member or our team will get in touch with the next steps.

Frequently asked questions.

How long does the study last?

This is a single time point study. You provide your samples only once. The online surveys will take about an hour to complete. Sample collection is done at home however we ask you come to St George hospital or one of our other hospital sites to provide a blood sample and to drop off your other samples.

Where can I have my blood taken?

Blood collection and sample drop off sites are across NSW. and include the following hospitals:

  • RPAH, Concord, Canterbury, Randwick, Sutherland, St George, Royal North Shore Hospital,
  • Liverpool, Campbelltown, Fairfield
  • Westmead, Blacktown/Mt Druitt, Nepean
  • Gosford, Wyong, John Hunter Hospital, Taree, Kempsey, Lismore, Tamworth
  • Wollongong, Shellharbour, Nowra

Email: HOAM_study@unsw.edu.au

Phone: +61 2 9348 0691

This study has been Approved by the South Eastern Sydney LHD Research Ethics Committee 2019/ETH13001.