Group | Microbiota-Targeted Interventions
We could recently show that the intestinal microbiota is changed in stunted children, and displays a specific microbial signature likely responsible for the observed dysbiosis. However, we don’t know if the observed signatures are conserved in regions where the diet consists of different staple foods or if they are specific to each context (“global vs. regional microbiota changes”) and if it is conserved in different forms of undernutrition. We will address these questions in the Pastobiome project, analyzing the microbiota of pastoralist children in the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia.
Nutrition-Related Microbial Dysbiosis in Early Life
Malnutrition in pregnancy and childhood is increasingly recognized as important risk factor for obesity and metabolic disorders in adults “dual burden of malnutrition”. It is suspected that the microbiota plays a major role in this phenomenon; however, the exact molecular causes and consequences are yet to be elucidated. We address these questions in a human cohort, which we will recruit together with the Lao Tropical and Public Health Institute within an existing multigenerational cohort (VITERBI). In addition, we will experimentally test the underlying causal relationships in cell and animal models.
Microbiota-Targeted Interventions for Child Undernutrition
In collaboration with Dr. Lisa Maier’s group at the University of Tübingen and with financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we will develop new tools to rapidly identify members of the human microbiota, establish a child microbial strain biobank and screen for compounds that hamper the growth of health-deteriorating and promote the growth of health-promoting bacterial strains. These microbiota-modulating compounds can then be combined in an integrated approach with the existing nutritional rehabilitation schemes to better tackle childhood undernutrition in the poorest regions of this world. Read more