As the old saying goes, “Beauty is skin deep.” At Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Oceanographic Center, researchers have taken that sentiment one step beyond, as they believe special knowledge can also stem from their new study: “The Skin Deep Microbiome Project.”

No matter how hard we try, and no matter what type of soap or disinfectant, microbes will prevail on our skin. And contrary to popular belief or the latest ad from Madison Avenue, most microbes benefit our health.

“Many microbes protect us by occupying niche space and outcompeting potential pathogens. We need to better understand how these bacteria are good for us. For example, what if they affect aging, skin diseases or assist in UV protection?”

The Skin Deep project, spearheaded by Jose Lopez, Ph.D., came from his interests in evolution, microbiology, and the symbiosis between different organisms. Skin samples are needed to conduct the research that can reveal human specific patterns, and the project will cast a wide net to request enough samples and funding for a statistically sound study.

Visit to find FAQs and ways to join the study—from donation/participation levels to a specific questionnaire & directions on how to provide skin samples. See ad page 42.