The Zoo in You: Exploring the Human Microbiome

Visitors are challenged by this touch screen game to keep their gut microbes in balance.
OMSI 2015
  • Project Description

    The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in partnership with the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) developed Zoo in You: The Human Microbiome/El Microbioma Humano, a 2,000 square foot bilingual (English and Spanish) traveling exhibition for national tour to science centers, health museums, and other relevant venues. The exhibition engages visitors in the significant research of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Human Microbiome Project (HMP) and explores the impact of the microbiome on human health. To enrich the visitor experience, the Zoo in You project also produced an interactive bilingual website and  programs for educators and school groups. JCVI provided its expertise and experience as a major site for HMP genomics research. In addition, advisors from the Oregon Health & Science University, Multnomah County Library, the Multnomah County Health Department, ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, Science Museum of Minnesota, and other experts guided OMSI’s development of exhibits and programs. Audience Viewpoints, in collaboration with OMSI, evaluated the project. Front-end, formative, remedial, and summative studies were conducted in English and Spanish at OMSI and ScienceWorks.

    The Zoo in You began touring in 2015 to three venues a year for a minimum of eight years. We conservatively estimate that over two million people will visit the exhibition during the national tour.

    PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE (provided by applicant): Our research education program the Zoo in You (ZIY): Exploring the Human Microbiome is relevant to public health because it informs exhibition visitors and program participants about the significant research of the NIH’s Human Microbiome Project (HMP). Visitors will make connections between basic research, human health, and their own personal experiences. The bilingual (English and Spanish) ZIY exhibits and programs present research finding and public health information in enjoyable and engaging ways to reach diverse family and adult audiences.

Project Photos

Project Audience

The exhibition’s target audience is families and school groups with children in grades 4-12. Latino families are a priority audience and the project deliverables were developed bilingually and biculturally.