A systems biology approach to identify complimentary feeds that nourish the immune-beneficial gut microbiome in infants Event as iCalendar

11 July 2018

12:30 - 1:30pm

Venue: Liggins Institute – Room 503-028

Location: 85 Park Road, Grafton, Auckland

Contact email: s.gusso@auckland.ac.nz

17_03_27Liggins_Staff-Student_Biju Balakrishnan_171
Dr Biju Balakrishnan

About the talk: Weaning is a period of marked physiological change. The gut microbiome is particularly dynamic during the period of weaning and solid food affects its composition. Deploying sophisticated public domain mining including natural language processing, and developing an in silico reverse metabolomics approach, probiotic bacteria, their prebiotic nutrients and natural food sources have been identified to seed an immune-beneficial microbiome in the infants. This search has informed the choice and design of a first weaning food currently administered in a pilot infant trial. This collaborative study involves the University of Trento Centre for Computational and Systems Biology (COSBI) in Italy, AgResearch, the Riddet Institute, and the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in New Zealand.

About the speaker: Biju did his veterinary medical training and a masters in immunology in India. He completed his PhD in placental biology at the Liggins Institute and moved to the University of Otago in 2012 as a Research Fellow for the Bayer Animal Health project on bovine mastitis. He has research experience in molecular biology and microbiology, vaccine development, drug discovery and molecular diagnostics. He has worked at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited and Ministry for Primary Industries, NZ. He is currently working as a Research Fellow on the HVN-funded Priority Research Programme on Infant Health with a focus on microbiome and immunity around weaning. His current research interests include infant gut microbiome, antibiotic resistance genes, host-microbe interactions and their nutritional applications.