Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • ADVERTISEMENT FEATURE Advertiser retains sole responsibility for the content of this article

Towards future innovation in microbiota–host interactions

© 2021 Springer Nature

The Global Grants for Gut Health (GGGH) programme continues to support research projects that will help develop new ways to maintain human health through elucidating novel mechanisms of microbiota–host interactions. We are proud to announce the adoption of three new projects in 2021 that all address the theme of “the early-life microbiome in human health”. The gut microbiota established during infanthood is now known to affect the composition of the adult microbiota. Accordingly, it greatly influences susceptibility to several disorders. However, it remains to be determined how the paediatric microbiota affects adult health. We were delighted to have received many applications focusing on the analysis of infant microbiota. Even under the constraints imposed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, GGGH panel members conducted close discussions online, resulting in the selection of three excellent proposals this year.

Lawrence David (Duke University, USA) proposed a project on “Dietary determinants of infant microbiome metabolism”. For the first two years of life, the intestinal microbiota of infants changes dynamically to become an adult-type intestinal microbiota. However, the mechanisms that alter the gut microbiota during infancy are unclear. This proposal seeks to elucidate the effects of diet, particularly dietary plants, on microbiota composition and metabolism. It will use original analytical methods, a DNA-sequencing-based technique for detecting intake of dietary food species, and high-throughput culture-based assays.

The title of the proposal by Gerard Bryan Gonzales (Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands) is “Mapping of the paths to impact of the gut microbiome on growth in nearly life: longitudinal studies in populations at high risk of growth faltering-Paths2Growth”. Malnutrition during a child’s first two years increases the risk of developing diseases in adulthood. Based on the correlation between growth and microbiota-derived metabolites, phosphatidylcholine and polyunsaturated fatty acids, this proposal will analyze those metabolites and gut microbiota of over 100 children in Kenya and Malawi and seek to elucidate the association between gut metabolism and infant growth.

Robert Quinn (Michigan State University, USA) will pursue a research project on “Understanding the role of microbially-conjugated bile acids in the developing human gut”. Primary bile acids are well known to be conjugated with glycine or taurine in the liver. But conjugated bile acids have recently been found to be also produced by gut microbiota, and they are abundant in infants. Those microbial conjugated bile acids are novel bacterial metabolites, and their physiology remains to be elucidated. This proposal will seek to determine the mechanism by which they are produced by microbiota and influence health.

These three research projects are really excellent, and I am convinced they will contribute greatly to our understanding of the mechanisms by which the gut microbiota is formed in early childhood and how it influences the adult gut microbiota. Ultimately, this will promote human health.

Finally, I would like to express my sincere thanks to panel members Tine Rask Licht, Eran Elinav, Paul W. O’Toole, Karen P. Scott and Liping Zhao for their tremendous effort in evaluating the proposals.

Meet the panel

From left to right: Tine Rask Licht, Panel Chair, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark (DTU Food), Denmark. Eran Elinav, Department of Immunology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. Paul W. O'Toole, School of Microbiology and APC Microbiome Ireland, University of Cork College, Ireland.

From left to right: Karen P. Scott, Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom, Kiyoshi Takeda, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Japan, Liping Zhao, Chair of Applied Microbiology at Rutgers University, United States; Distinguished Professor of Microbiology at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

Related Articles


Quick links