The transition from a traditional to a Western lifestyle and its effect on the interrelation between diet, gut microbiome and health

WHAT: Chronic diseases have increased to epidemic proportions in Western countries. The composition of the gut microbiota influences health and disease. The comprehensive, systems biology approach of the Human Functional Genomics Project (HFGP) offers unprecedented opportunities to unravel the effects of the gut microbiome on health and disease. Still, important gaps in our knowledge remain of how diet influences the composition of the microbiome and its effects on health. TransMic aims to fill these gaps by studying the effects of traditional versus modern ‘Western’ diets on gut microbiome and the functional consequences for health.

HOW: Data from cohorts from populations in different phases of the demographic transition from Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Europe will be used and analyzed using the comprehensive HFGP approach. In addition, a short dietary intervention will be performed switching young subjects from a Western to a traditional diet and vice versa. Omics-based data, including microbiome composition, genetics, transcriptome and lipidome will be related to functional data, such as immune responses. This large-scale analysis will provide important fundamental insights in the effects of diet on microbiome and health in general and the health effects of ‘westernization’ of diet in particular. It will thereby provide the necessary data for future innovative interventions to improve health, such as directed dietary microbiota modulation.

WHO: The TransMic consortium consists of three funded partners and one collaborator, coordinated by Mihai Netea and Quirijn de Mast, Radboud University Medical Center (The Netherlands); email contact: or

The other consortium partners are Joachim Schultze, University of Bonn (Germany) and Paolo Lionetti, University of Florence (Italy). The Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Center (Tanzania) is collaborating in this project.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s
H2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement n.696300

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