HDHL-INTIMIC: Healthy Microbiome Symposium

The intestinal microbiome project results were presented during the Healthy Microbiome Symposium in May 2022, at the Medical University of Vienna. JPI HDHL asked Jildau Bouwman, coordinator of the Knowledge Platform, to reflect on the symposium and the future of microbiome research.

The symposium was an essential meeting after 2 years of corona. Seeing each other in person and updating each other was very important at this stage”, says Jildau Bouwman. Almost 100 participants attended the hybrid symposium, either physically or via livestream. Within the HDHL-INTIMIC ERA-Net Cofund, eleven research projects were funded in the cofunded call Interrelation of the Intestinal Microbiome, Diet and Health, and these projects are connected within the Knowledge Platform on Food, Diet, Intestinal Microbiomics and Human Health. During the symposium, the projects and the Knowledge Platform presented their results.

Healthy Microbiome Symposium

Results of microbiome research projects
HDHL INTIMIC Cofunded projects
The ultimate goal of the cofunded projects was to develop pre- / probiotics, supplements or dietary guidelines to promote gut health and address microbiome-related chronic diseases. The projects presented results that will lead to new treatment options, new prevention strategies or products to reduce the incidence of diet related chronic disease. Some projects reported COVID-related delays and will complete the research activities by the end of 2022.

Knowledge Platform on Food, Diet, Intestinal Microbiomics and Human Health
The overarching aim of the Knowledge Platform is to foster transnational and multidisciplinary collaboration and networking in order to accelerate, further develop and increase the impact of intestinal microbiome research related to human health. According to Jildau Bouwman, the key outcomes of the Knowledge Platform are the availability of new standards for (microbiome and) nutrition research and the use cases that show the importance of those standards. The standardization work enables better collaboration. More results can be found on the Knowledge Platform website.

Future of microbiome and nutrition research
Over the past years, researchers learnt a lot about the intestinal microbiome and it’s relationship with nutrition and health. During the symposium, researchers discussed the future of microbiome research. To date, most microbiome research has been based on 16S measures: high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene as a tool to identify microbes at the species level. However, Jildau Bouwman points out that more functional approaches, such as metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics, and metabolomics, will get more important. “In the future, microbiome research will most likely focus more on the functional microbiome and less on 16S measures. The technical challenges of the data comparisons will hopefully be smaller and the relevance of the measures to host health will be easier to interpret”, says Jildau Bouwman.

Recording livestream
The recordings of the presentations will soon be online.  

Learn more about the cofunded call projects and Knowledge Platform under the HDHL INTIMIC action on these websites:

Publication date: July 7, 2022
Text: call secretariat INTIMIC cofunded call and Knowledge Platform

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