The Department of Experimental Vascular Medicine at the Amsterdam University Medical Center focuses on basal and translational research in cardiometabolic diseases. The overall aim is to understand the (epi)genetic, molecular and cellular pathophysiology of these disorders and to translate this knowledge into clinical applications such as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and novel treatments. The department has a long-lasting reputation on early translational research of innovative therapies in humans (gene therapy, antisense, small molecules), surrogate marker studies for cardiovascular disease (ultrasound, MRI, stable isotope fluxes), diagnostic studies (thrombosis/pulmonary embolism) and RCTs in cardiometabolism. The main research lines comprise: atherosclerotic vascular diseases, (venous) trombo-embolic diseases, lipid metabolism and insulin resistance and obesity, metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes in relation to the gut microbiota.
The Institute of Epidemiology mission is to understand the protective and harmful effects of genes, the environment and lifestyle on human health and disease using population-based epidemiology approaches. Knowledge of these interactions leads to novel targeted prevention and intervention approaches and thereby to better health outcomes. Our research builds on the population-based adult cohort KORA (Cooperative Health Research in the Augsburg Region) with its biobank facility. As part of the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD), the main focus of the research group Diabetes and Related Traits is to elucidate molecular mechanisms of diabetes and related traits such as obesity and glycemic traits. Involving a wide range of methods, we intend to map molecular disease mechanisms from early stages in disease development to manifest disease and resulting complications. Thus, we aim to identify and validate new biomarkers for early diagnosis and prevention purposes.
The Department of Twin Research carries out multi-omic studies on the impact of genetic variations and environmental factors on ageing, human health and disease. The Department is home to the TwinsUK cohort, the largest adult cohort in the UK (>13,000 twins) with extensive multi-omics and deep phenotype information, as well as access to biological samples. Prof. Spector and Dr. Bell lead and participate in several interdisciplinary research programs related to metabolic health and disease, gut health and microbial composition. Prof. Spector established the TwinsUK cohort and is currently Director of the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology. In the last decade he has had a major role in leading microbiome research in TwinsUK, and multi-omic studies of metabolism and metabolic health. Dr. Jordana Bell is lead PI and co-investigator on collaborative projects that explore the relationship between diet and changes in the gut microbiome, host genetic, epigenetics and gene expression, and their links to adiposity. Dr Caroline Le Roy is a postdoctoral fellow who studies the microbial and metabolic signatures of metabolic health. Ongoing projects in our research group include the interaction between intestinal bacteria and host genome, and the relationship between diet, multi-omic profiles and metabolic health.
MetaGenoPolis (MGP) is a “Demonstration” project funded by the French Initiative Future investments. It aims to determine the impact of the human gut microbiota on health and disease, applying quantitative and functional metagenomic technologies. Characterization of the human gut microbiota enables the study of its variation with population, genotypes, disease, age, nutrition, medication and environment, and therefore opening avenues to modify it, in order to optimize the health and well-being of individuals. To support this goal, MGP has developed a center of excellence in Human Intestinal Metagenomics dedicated to translational research needs of the medical, academic and industrial communities and brings together several know-how and expertise gathered into four scientific platforms (SAMBO, METAQUANT, INFOBIOSTAT and METAFUN) accompanied by an ethical center (SOCA).
The main focus of our research is the study of intestinal microbiomes (the communities of microorganisms, their genomes, and surrounding environmental factors in the gut). Because intestinal microorganisms have a major impact on the physiology of their host, it is important to investigate and understand their diversity and functions. We focus primarily on the human, pig, and mouse gut microbiomes because of their relevance for health-related issues. In particular, we are interested in describing the taxonomic diversity and evolution of gut bacteria thanks to the use of culture-based and sequencing approaches. The use of isolates under standardized conditions in the lab helps us understanding the ecology of microbes in the intestine. Moreover, we look at specific functions of microbes involved in interactions with the host and nutritional factors, including the conversion of cholesterol-derived substrates and associated impact on gut and liver physiology as well as metabolic responses.
The ZIEL - Institute for Food & Health carries out excellent basic research at the interfaces of food science, nutrition research and medicine. The work of this TUM inter-university corporate research center is mainly focused on the microbiome, digestive health and metabolic functions. Through its research findings, ZIEL aims to benefit the prevention of chronic diseases. The Microbiome Core Facility is dedicated to researching the complex links between intestinal microbiota and their host organisms. It consists of the Gnotobiology and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) units, which enable the scientists to carry out complete analyses of the intestinal bacterial community (microbiome). The Core Facility team has expert knowledge in the areas of microbiology, microbial ecology, bacterial genetics, high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics.
The focus of Paul O’Toole’s lab in the School of Microbiology and APC Microbiome Ireland in Cork is the functional genomic analysis of gastrointestinal bacteria in humans with emphasis on lactobacillus genomics and phylogeny, gut microbiota in ageing, colorectal cancer, cardiometabolic diseases and in IBS. The ultimate aim of these investigations is to understand host-microbiome interactions, especially in the context of multi-factorial diseases, with a view to improving health. Paul O’Toole has coordinated and participated in several major projects that examine the composition and function of the gut microbiota, its reaction to habitual diet, and its relationship to health, functional gastrointestinal disorders, and ageing. Among other projects, he coordinated the ELDERMET project (eldermet.ucc.ie), a nationally funded €5M project that established diet-microbiota-health interactions in 500 elderly persons, and he leads a project called ELDERFOOD that is investigating novel foods for healthy aging.
We carry out meal studies and longer-term dietary intervention trials with healthy as well as health-compromised human volunteers. The studies may focus on single foods or food components or they may target effects of whole diets in order to document their specific physiological or health effects or to find optimal diets for patients as a part of their treatment. To investigate the effects of diets, foods or dietary components we make use of a range of clinical, physiological and immunological methods and biomarkers. We continuously strive to improve these methodologies and to develop new biomarkers to assess food intake, life style factors, and disease risk, including metabolomics. The latter technology is a central aspect of the DINAMIC consortium and provides state-of-the-art platforms for metabolome studies of consortium samples and cohorts.
The Department of Agricultural Sciences is one of the largest departments of the University of Naples Federico II (UNINA), which is the third largest Italian University. It is the leading Department of the Task Force on Microbiome Studies at UNINA, a collective and interdisciplinary initiative for the investigation of complex microbial ecosystems (soil, plant, foods, human gut). The team involved in DINAMIC is located at the Microbiology and Human Nutrition Laboratories. The Microbiology lab focuses on culture-dependent and -independent analyses of microbial communities, with a robotic station for metagenomic libraries preparation and a data-center for computationally-intensive data analysis. The personnel involved in the project has a recognized expertise in microbial ecology, metagenomics, bioinformatics and biostatistics for the analysis of multi-omics data. The Lab of Foods and Health deals with metabolomic analysis of food and biological samples, the determination of biomarkers of hormonal, inflammatory, antioxidant status of humans/animals, the assessment of gut permeability in humans as well as the analysis of enzymatic activities of foods and biological fluids. Moreover, equipment and expertise for the formulation/analysis of diets are employed for the analysis of anthropometry and diets in clinical trials.
The lab relies on a strong association between applied and fundamental research and technological developments to simulate and model the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT) of humans (and other monogastric animals) in various physiological conditions. Our in vitro tools allow detailed studies of digestion processes, drug encapsulation strategies, or delivery and survival of exogenous microbes. Continuous culture systems can also simulate the compartmentalization of the gut microbiota along the colon, allowing region-specific investigations of the faith of dietary components in the presence of varying complex microbial communities. The lab is also expert in the functional and taxonomic diversity of the human gut archaeome, i.e. the genomics, microbiology and ecology of the archaeal component of the gut microbiota, mainly methanogens.