December Update: Microbiome Immunity Project

The researchers and World Community Grid developers continue to work on a potential new type of work unit for the project.


Trillions of bacteria live inside and on our bodies. The Microbiome Immunity Project is using the computational power of World Community Grid to study the proteins produced by these bacteria, which are encoded in their genomes. This helps scientists understand the role of the microbiome in disease.

So far, the researchers have run more than 300,000 protein sequences through their pipeline, and they have more sequences to run in the future.

Potential new type of work unit

As we first mentioned in October's update, the research team wants to make changes to the work units that they submit to World Community Grid. These changes could potentially speed up their research.

World Community Grid's tech team is continuing to work with the researchers on:

  • standardizing the length of the new work units
  • deciding if they will require more physical memory than normal
  • making changes to the screensaver graphics 

We'll continue to provide information as this work progresses. 

New technology announced

A few weeks ago, the researchers participated in a biennial protein structure predication conference (CASP14). This year, they heard about a brand new technology that may have a major impact on the protein structure prediction problem and the study of protein shapes in general. It is very exciting to see such progress in the field which is going to benefit all of us in the long run. 

Over the coming months, the researchers will learn more about this technology, if and how to use it, and how computationally feasible it is at the scale they are working on. They'll let us know if/when the Microbiome Immunity Project would embrace it.

Current status of work units

  • Available for download: 4,242 batches
  • In progress: 4,864 batches (5,865,035 work units)
  • Completed: 321,694 batches (2,476 batches in the past 30 days,
    an average of 82.5 batches per day)
  • Estimated backlog: 51 days 


Click here to learn more about World Community Grid's monthly project updates.