In 2012, the European Union MetaCardis consortium, comprising 14 research groups from six European countries with multidisciplinary expertise set out to investigate a potential role of the gut microbiota in the development of cardio-metabolic diseases.
Microbiome specialist MRM Health enters into its first industry collaboration with DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences in the field of metabolic diseases. Furthermore, MRM Health has raised more than €14 million to advance its in-house clinical and preclinical development programs in the field of microbiome-based therapeutics and strengthens its partnership with VIB, KU Leuven and Ghent University.
Today marks the start of a recruitment drive to find participants for a special Flemish research project: FLORA. The project, an initiative of SmartWithFood (a spin-off of Colruyt Group) in collaboration with KU Leuven and VIB wants to investigate whether personalised digital nutritional advice can have a positive effect on health and intestinal microbiota. For a period of 3 months, participants will receive personalised nutritional tips via an app.
Vandaag start de rekrutering van deelnemers voor een bijzonder Vlaams onderzoeksproject: FLORA. Het project, een initiatief van SmartWithFood een spin-off van Colruyt Group, in samenwerking met de KU Leuven en VIB (Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie), wil onderzoeken of gepersonaliseerde en digitaal geleverde voedingsadviezen een positief effect kunnen hebben op de gezondheid en de darmflora.
A team of researchers from the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology found that house flies are real taxi’s for microbes. And, they do not care much about which passengers they are taking along for the ride. Bacteria, fungi and even pathogenic microbes are all transported on the flies’ bodies. Inside the flies, however, the diversity of microbes is lower, suggesting that only specific microbes survive. The findings will be published in BMC Microbiome.
In 2012, Professor Jeroen Raes (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology) launched the Flemish Gut Flora Project. Sequencing fecal samples of over 3,000 healthy volunteers, Prof. Raes and his team defined the boundaries of a normal, health-associated gut microbiota. Next, the team turned to patient groups to identify microbiome alterations associated with diseases.
Many illnesses – like Crohn’s disease – are associated with gut flora alterations. And not only the type of bacteria in our bowels, but also their quantity matters. Introducing Quantitative Microbiome Profiling, Jeroen Raes (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology) and his team take a leap towards the quantitative assessment of microbiome composition.
In the fast-emerging market of sustainable alternatives for chemical agricultural products, VIB spin-off Aphea.Bio is the new kid in town – or rather: in the wheat, barley and maize fields. Launched in June, the start-up’s offices in the Ghent-based Bio-Accelerator are still looking spic and span. However, Scientific Advisor Sofie Goormachtig (VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology), CEO Isabel Vercauteren and CSO Steven Vandenabeele have already spent three exciting years on the project. They’re happy to look back on the highlights, and give us a glimpse of what the future might bring.
A broad range of metabolic and inflammatory diseases is associated with alterations in gut microbiota composition and metabolic potential. Until now, sequencing-based gut microbiota research has been describing such dysbiotic states in terms of proportional shifts in microbiome composition. However, when it comes to the bacterial content of your bowels and how it relates to your health, not only percentages matter, but also numbers count. That is at least one of the main messages of the latest research of Jeroen Raes (VIB-KU Leuven) and his team published today in the scientific journal Nature.
Jeroen Raes (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Microbiology): “The microbiome field is still in the development phase, so the datasets aren’t as big as they are, for example, in genetics GWAS studies. This being said, in our Flemish Gut Flora Project, there are about 3,500 individuals for which we have microbiome and genetics data, and will be generating metabolomics in the future. In addition to all the clinical and questionnaire data, this is becoming quite an impressive dataset, I’d say – and the multiomics integration won’t be straightforward. Things will become even bigger in the future – for the trials we are currently planning, we will be collecting between 15,000 and 20,000 samples. The biggest challenge there is not the data analysis, but the logistics! ! Yet, it’s still not enough –in our recent Science paper, we estimated that at least 40,000 individuals need to be sampled to have a complete view of gut biodiversity in the healthy population. So, we still have quite some work ahead of us!”