Microbiome

To connect the dots between microbiome and disease, we need to be as versatile as the microbiome itself. Key area
The microbiome constitutes the constellation of bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses that inhabit the human body and is increasingly being recognized to be essential for human health and disease. Insight into how the microbiome contributes to health and disease opens up new possibilities to treat patients and even to prevent the onset of disease.

Thanks to the plasticity of the microbiome and its ability to adapt to different conditions, there are multiple routes to modify the microbiome’s composition and function through diet, probiotics, medication, fecal transplantation or other means in order to direct the microbiome into a healthy state.

Studying a complex ecosystem like the gut microbiome requires true interdisciplinary research in which biologists, microbiologists, molecular geneticists, nutritionists, data scientists and clinicians must work very closely together.

Our outcomes:

  • We quantified inter-individual variation in microbial composition and functional properties
  • We assessed to what extent microbial differences can be linked to intrinsic and exogenous factors, as well as to host genetics
  • We established microbial interactions, adaptations to their environment, and, most importantly associations with cardio-metabolic traits, inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel syndrome and cytokine production, amongst others
  • We disentangled the effect of disease and medication on the gut microbiome and showed that usage of non-antibiotic drugs can also affect our gut microbiome, including proton pump inhibitors, anti-diabetics and laxatives
  • We demonstrated that the gut microbiome itself is a complex trait that is shaped by host genetics, environmental factors and their interactions.