Obesity and diabetes, both rapidly increasing in prevalence worldwide, have a tremendous medical and socio-economic impact. Both are multifactorial in their etiology, influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Obesity and Diabetes also share the characteristic of a chronic low-grade inflammatory state, that indicates that altered metabolism may alter the immune system. The gut microbiota, and microbial metabolites in particular, have been described to play an important role in disease development. However, the underlying mechanisms are still ill-defined.
In our lab we will apply innovative gnotobiotic, metagenomic and metabolomic approaches to advance our mechanistic understanding of the complex pathophysiologic interplay between gut microbiota, metabolism and inflammation driving obesity and diabetes , with the ultimate goal to inspire novel and innovative strategies for prevention and therapy of these important diseases.
How is microbiota metabolism changed during diet-induced obesity? The aim of this project is to characterize the metabolome of the gut microbiota during diet-induced obesity in a gnotobiotic mouse model. Manipulation of the microbial composition and bacterial engineering will be used to influence development and treatment of diet-induced obesity.
How does the changing metabolome in diet-induced obesity influence immune functionality? The aim of this project is to elucidate how the obesity-driving metabolome impacts on immune cell metabolism and function at the molecular level and study how these changes might contribute to chronic inflammation in obesity. Manipulating immune cell metabolism accordingly will allow to assess causality and elucidate its therapeutic potential.
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