We’re headed back to the Big Apple this week – this time, not in search of ants, but BELLY BUTTONS.

We’re launching a new research project investigating how belly button microbes – and skin microbes more generally – produce chemical signals, particularly odors, that may signal our attractiveness to mosquitoes.

And so we need a few good belly button samples. We’ll use those samples to study the composition of microbes, the odors they produce, and their relative attractiveness to mosquitoes (Literally, we’ll present the samples to actual mosquitoes in a snazzy set-up in the lab of our NCSU colleague, Michael Reiskind.)

We’re partnering with the American Museum of Natural History to collect belly button samples from willing volunteers waiting in line to attend the SciCafe on Wednesday, November 5, about antibiotics, obesity and the microbiome. Dr. Martin Blaser – author of Missing Microbes – is the featured guest.

The event is free, but space (and sample swabs!) are limited. We’ll be sampling prior to the 7p start of the SciCafe. More details here on the AMNH website.