The Microbiome Snapshot

a blog providing new insights into Microbiome Collection and Stabilization by DNA Genotek. DNA Genotek is a subsidiary of OraSure Technologies, Inc.

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Article by: Katherine Lawless

Oral Microbiome: The key to better therapeutics


Podcast episode highlights featuring Dr. Brian Klein, co-founder, from Brick Built.  

As most of our readers and podcast listeners know, the gut microbiome has been the primary focus of most research and talks at various microbiology conferences. The human microbiome is much more than just the gut, which is why DNA Genotek™ also offers collection solutions for multiple microbiome sample types, such as vaginal, skin, and oral.

“When it comes to most diseases, they can be diagnosed from multiple places and treated for in multiple places [in the human body] … Diseases like IBD [Inflammatory Bowel Disease], over the past couple of years, have been shown that you can potentially diagnose it from the gut and the mouth, the same would go for colorectal cancer.” - Dr. Brian Klein, Brick Built 

One new start-up microbiology company, Brick Built, is focused on the potential of the human oral microbiome. On the latest Molecules, Microbes, and Multiomics podcast episode, our two microbiome product managers at DNA Genotek, Dr. Heloise Breton, and Laura Cunningham, had the pleasure of speaking with Brick Built Therapeutics co-founder Dr. Brian Klein about the role and future potentials of the oral microbiome in our health and biotech industry. In this blog, we will highlight some key points and themes from the podcast. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can click below.  


Oral microbiome another path to better therapeutics 

“Over 90% of people throughout the world will have cavities, and both as a child and as an adult periodontal disease throughout the world is hitting almost about 50% of adults in the US. It's well over 40% as of a 2017 study. Oral Candidiasis is a smaller percent of the population, but it's extremely recurrent in the people who have it. And it is really a problem because not only are these pervasive chronic and or recurrent, but the treatments are also awful. - Dr. Brian Klei 

As Dr. Klein describes in the quote above, the majority of the population will experience dental cavitieswhich can lead to other serious oral diseases which may require expensive and painful surgeries as the only treatment options 

"So, if those are your only real treatments, you know you're going to want something else in this space. Once we get past this, we will be able to treat this large swath of people by giving them better therapeutics. - Dr. Brian Klein 

De-risking microbiome workflows 

Before you can begin researching the oral microbiome for your study, it is important to make sure you have the best workflow to reduce risks and ensure optimal reproducible results.  

It's important to understand that when you're going to be doing sampling and you're going to be doing sequencing, that you have a consistent methodology and pathway throughout your entire company or is at least as controlled as possible. So that's why we moved to DNA Genotek where we could say, alright, we're going to have this sample collection device [OMNIgene•ORAL] and we're going to send it to all of our collaborators and all of our clinical sites for our collections so that we can collect using the same technologies reducing any bias. - Dr. Brian Klein 

Dr. Klein goes on to mention how 5 to 10 years ago companies that were just getting started or academic labs would collect oral microbiome samples using falcon tubes one day and then collect using a preservative another day. It wasn’t until you reached the DNA extraction stage that you would notice the effects of using two different methods on your study 

So, knowing that your collection device and the pathway for shipment and storage is kind of uniform will really help the keeping of your sequencing data. So that you can keep using it throughout time and re-evaluate your stuff later.” - Dr. Brian Klei 


Importance of biobanking and future-proofing samples 

Dr. Heloise Breton goes on to discuss how one part of a DNA Genotek Product Manager’s job is to speak to researchers and gather market intelligence so they can clearly understand the market needs and determine what the next product release should be.  

“A lot of the time when we ask people what are you trying to do with your samples or what’s your plan with your samples? A lot of them say, ‘I don’t know,’ ‘I’m just banking’ or ‘I’m future proofing samples for potential future use.’” - Dr. Heloise Breton 

Dr. Brian Klein elaborated on his thoughts regarding futureproofing and biobanking oral microbiome samples.  

So, if we are in an oral health company, you might say, ‘my company is going to collect saliva from all the people that we are doing work on.’ But one of the biggest issues of collecting any biofluid tends to be that you are paying the study site to bring people in, have a doctor there or a dentist there. You will want to make the best use of that time and money so you will likely want to collect more than saliva, such as a cheek swab, tongue swab, or even nasal. So, in terms of future proofing having multiple sample types available can be very helpful, for you may find out in the future that the nose is a reservoir for certain dental bacteria or vice versa.” - Dr. Brian Klei 

You can click on the link to listen to the full conversation with Dr. Brian Klein, and you can visit our podcast for Molecules, Microbes, and Multiomics, for more podcast episodes like this one.  

Related content: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health selects DNA Genotek’s OMNIgene devices for Microbiome Biobank 

If you are interested to learn more about Brick Built and what they offer, you can visit their website at If you would like to know more about our OMNIgene•ORAL microbiome collection kits, you can send us an email at or click the picture below to request free samples to try in your lab.  

Note: quotes from the podcast episode were edited for length and clarity.  

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