The scope of the research on host-microbe interactions in the APC Microbiome Institute has relevance to a range of inflammatory, infectious and other disorders within and beyond the gut, as well as to health maintenance. “Butterflies in my tummy”, “sick with fear”, “gut feelings”…these are all terms in daily use. But if you think about it, they all reflect the fact that our brain and our intestine are in continual dialogue. This two-way conversation that our brain and gut have daily is referred to as the gut-brain axis. Indeed, the intestine is referred to as the ‘other brain’ or the ‘little brain’ by scientists because it has as many nerve cells as there are in the spinal cord. Recent research has shown that the microbes (bacteria) in the gut also participate in this gut-brain axis and can influence the perception of pain in the gut and may also modulate stress responses. It seems reasonable, therefore, to ask how we can modify or modulate the microbes and this is achieved primarily by diet. APC scientists are exploring diet-microbe-host interactions. This work has shown that it is possible in experimental animals to reduce the hypersensitivity, that some patients have in the gastrointestinal tract, by dietary measures. More intriguingly, work has shown that diet-microbe interactions may influence the risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome. This should come as no real surprise since the bacteria in the intestine collectively are tantamount to a hidden inner organ – an organ within an organ – and each bacterium is like a little cell factory capable of producing a diversity of bioactive chemicals, some of which influence nerves, immune cells and even fat tissue.
APC Research Themes
APC research is subdivided into four Research Themes (or Spokes), for budget and administrative reasons, but there is seemless interaction and collaboration amongst these Themes.
APC Technology Platforms Overview
The APC has seven Platform Technologies that support the research and act as a resource for APC faculty to attract further industry involvement. Each Platform Technology is equipped appropriately, staffed with the necessary technical expertise and is available on an economic basis to the wider research community. All IP and know-how developed in the Platform Technologies resides in the Centre. The Platform Technologies are designed to be:
- Centre-wide, shared, and supportive of the Targeted Projects (enabling)
- Available for use by industry partners (adding value)
- A magnet for new industry partners (attracting)
- Ensure freshness, flexibility and agility to respond to industry needs
- Support training of students, staff and industry personnel
- A resource for non-APC scientists
The APC has an enviable publication record, which has increased steadily since the centre was established in late 2003. The APC has published at least 2,750 papers and the APC’s h-index now stands at 130 (Web of ScienceTM)
- APC currently has 59 “Highly Cited” papers according to the Thomson Reuters index.
- 62 papers have been cited more than 100 times with an average cite per paper of 25.35.
- The most highly cited original article is the below paper by O’Mahony et al Gastroenterology, which has 580 citations in Web of ScienceTM and 982 citations in Google Scholar.
- Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium in irritable bowel syndrome: symptom responses and relationship to cytokine profiles. O’Mahony L1, McCarthy J, Kelly P, Hurley G, Luo F, Chen K, O’Sullivan GC, Kiely B, Collins JK, Shanahan F, Quigley EM. Gastroenterology. 2005 Mar;128(3):541-51.
- We also have one current “hot paper” details below (a hot paper is, according to ISI Essential Science IndicatorsTM, a paper published in the past two years that has received enough citations in January/February 2015 to place it in the top 0.1% of papers in its academic field)
- Intestinal microbiota, diet and health Power, Susan E.; O’Toole, Paul W.; Stanton, Catherine; et al. BRITISH JOURNAL OF NUTRITION Volume: 111 Issue: 3 Pages: 387-402 Published: FEB 14 2014
A selection of APC publications may be viewed by searching PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=alimentary+pharmabiotic+centre
If you would like a copy of any APC publication please contact Dr Brendan Curran firstname.lastname@example.org