AwardTherapeutic Award to develop microbiome research in liver disease
NIHR Imperial BRC researcher Dr Marc-Emmanuel Dumas received a development grant (~£50,000) from Guts UK charity, entitled “Precision medicine through integrative metagenomics and phenomics in a human NAFLD cohort”. Dr Dumas, Reader in Translational Systems Medicine at Imperial College London, will utilise extensive FLORINASH data, biological and bioinformatic resources available through the NIHR Imperial BRC Gut Health and Molecular Phenomics Themes, to characterise the role of the microbiome in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) stratification in a subset of 300 patients.
His group will identify molecular markers of NAFLD such as bacterial taxa (from phylum down to species and strain level), bacterial genes, functions and metabolites. The researchers aim to understand why 30% of subjects with obesity do not develop a fatty liver despite dramatically increased fat mass. This work will complement further intervention studies in humans such as faecal microbiota transplantation, which already take place at Imperial.
In parallel, Dr Dumas’ work will investigate if microbial markers – i.e. chemicals produced by gut microbes – can be used as early warning signs of fatty liver disease. Ultimately, this research will open the possibility that a simple screening test at a GP clinic could one day be used to spot the early signs of disease and design interventions to reverse liver disease.