HDHL Projects Showcased at Conference in Tanzania

Tanzania conference TransInf and TransMic
On November 6-7, 2023, the conference: 'Advances in Immunology of Communicable and Non-Communicable Diseases' took place in Moshi, Tanzania. This conference was organized by the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College (KCMUCo) in collaboration with the Radboudumc and showcased the findings and implications of two central projects: TransMic and its follow-up, TransInf. Both projects, funded by HDHL, shed light on the intricate relationships between diet, gut microbiome, and overall health.

TransMic Unveils the Impact of Dietary Transition on Health

TransMic, an earlier project funded under the HDHL-Intimic co-funded call, delved into the effects of transitioning from traditional to Western lifestyles on the delicate balance between diet, gut microbiome, and health. Led by Quirijn de Mast from Radboudumc, the project focused on sub-Saharan African communities, revealing that shifting from a traditional, plant-rich diet to a high-calorie Western one triggers significant changes in plasma metabolites, gut microbiome composition, and immune system function.
TransMic underscored the profound influence of dietary interventions in restoring a healthy microbiome composition and achieving a more balanced immune system. 

Read more about TransMic here.

TransInf Targets Obesity-Related Immune Impairments

Building on the success of TransMic, the TransInf project is now underway, focusing on individuals living with obesity and their immune response. Obesity is associated with a higher risk of severe infectious diseases and reduced vaccine efficacy. TransInf aims to explore the direct impact of variation in diet on host defense in people with obesity, seeking specific dietary interventions to enhance immune responses and vaccine efficacy.
The project, benefiting from 25 years of collaboration between Radboudumc and the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC), will investigate the immuno-modulatory effects of diets at extreme ends of the spectrum ('traditional' versus 'Western'). Data generated from new cohorts in Tanzania will be integrated and compared with existing Human Functional Genomics Projects cohorts, contributing to the identification of foods and metabolites with beneficial immuno-modulatory effects. TransInf has received local and national ethics committee approval and is now actively recruiting participants.

Conference Impact

The conference attracted around 200 participants, including representatives from the Tanzanian Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the director of the Tanzanian National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), the director of the Tanzanian Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), and the bishop.
The event garnered significant media attention in Tanzania, with national news dedicating coverage to the conference. Notably, Godfrey Temba, a PhD student within TransMic and now a collaborator within TransInf, gave an insightful television interview. 

Overall, the conference emphasized the importance of these projects in advancing our understanding of the complex interplay between diet and health.