STUDYING THE INFANT
We each have trillions and trillions of microbes in our body, vast majority of these are found in our GI tract. These microbes play important roles in breaking down the food we consume, synthesizing necessary vitamins, and educating our immune systems to differentiate between self and non-self.
Recent years have brought great advances in the field of the human gut microbiome, yet we still have plenty of unanswered questions. One of the most basic and fascinating questions is “how is this community established in the newborn gut?”
Our lab studies the infant gut microbiome, from establishment at birth, through development in early age, to impact on pediatric health.
OUR BIG QUESTIONS
How does the infant gut microbiome establish in early life?
Why is it that children born by C-section have a distinct gut microbiome in the first six months of life?
How does breastfeeding affect the microbial composition?
How does the gut microbiome impact the infant's health?
Our Vision: Shifting the gut microbiome of children born by C-section to better resemble those born vaginally. Designing better infant formulas to best mimic breastmilk. Improving child health using microbiome changes.
We establish new birth cohorts to collect samples closest to delivery together with parental and environmental samples. We also have disease-based cohorts, for example, focused on Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) and pediatric allergy.
Gut microbial community
The gut microbiome is the largest and most diverse microbial community in our body, comprised of ~10^13 microbial cells, and establishes in the first 2-3 years of life.
We use sequencing technologies to study the human microbiome, including metagenomics (DNA), metatranscriptomics (RNA) and also 16S ribosomal gene sequencing.
We develop computational methods to study complex microbial communities. Tools to analyse time course data from the same individual over time, and also compare multiple samples within the same family.