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Factors affecting gut microbiota establishment and function during infancy

12 months
Approved budget:
Professor Rinki Murphy
Health issue:
Obstetric complications/perinatal care
Proposal type:
Feasibility Study
Lay summary
Types of gut microbiota (microorganisms living in our gut) and their function is thought to be important for enhancing health and wellbeing. Understanding early life determinants of gut microbiota colonisation, and the extent to which this is modified by exposure to probiotics while in the womb and after birth, is important for developing more effective gut microbiota targeted therapies to promote resilience to many inflammatory and metabolic diseases. We propose a detailed study of the gut microbiota composition and function using longitudinal faecal samples collected from infants within a randomised controlled trial of probiotics given to mothers (during pregnancy and breastfeeding) and their infants. Prior to embarking on this study, we wish to undertake a feasibility study to ensure that the faecal DNA samples are of acceptable quality; estimate technical variability in gut microbiota sequencing; establish biological variability in faecal microbiota function; and establish scalable, integrative, computational analysis methods.