Research area Microbiome

The world within us

Research Area Microbiome

Roughly 1.5kg of microbes from more than 1000 different species live in our guts. Not only do they live there, they also have a profound impact on our health.


Researchers want to find out how microbiome imbalances can trigger different types of diseases and which microbes are involved.
The first step is to see if the composition of bacteria is changed in a given disease by analysing stool samples from both patients and healthy people. From those researchers can identify which types of bacteria live in the gut, how many thereof or if their function is changed in the disease state. This microbial fingerprint of our stool could serve as a diagnostic marker, even in diseases that seem to occur far away from the gut, such as Parkinson’s disease or type 1 diabetes.
Differences in microbes and their functions are observed in patients with different diseases. But did this change in microbes trigger the disease or is it rather a consequence of the disease? To answer this “chicken or egg” problem, our scientists have developed HuMiX, an artificial gut-on-a-chip. In this device, we can culture different types of microbes together with cells of the gut and hence analyse their effect on the health of gut cells in detail.

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