So far, most research on the microbiome in IBD has mostly focused on gut bacteria. However, there is increasing evidence to support that other members of the microbiome, such as viruses, may also have an important role. Herein we plan to study the role of viral exposures in IBD development. A major challenge of this type of study is to disentangle what is cause, and what is consequence of the inflammatory process. However, having access to a unique cohort of pre-clinical samples, where we were able to gather thousands of samples from patients with Crohn´s disease and ulcerative colitis, years before their diagnosis, as well as matched healthy individuals, addresses some of the challenges. Acquiring mechanistic information into preclinical disease can therefore potentially uncover key pathogenic events. In this unique cohort, we will use also a unique method, recently described, called the VirScan. This is a very sensitive and specific assay, that has the ability assess all viral exposures that happened throughout the life span of an individual. By combining this unique technique in a distinctive cohort, we hope to be able to identify whether there are specific viral exposures that may act as triggers for the development of IBD.