30 November 2017
By Bryan Smyth
The APC Microbiome Institute and DuPont Nutrition & Health have just announced a new research collaboration. This multiyear partnership will focus on maternal and infant microbiomes, which play a critical role in infant development and long-term health. The goal is to develop solutions to help establish a healthy microbiome in early life, to facilitate the long-term health of the individual. This is the first major partnership of the newly launched DuPont Microbiome Venture, which has chosen to work with the APC Microbiome Institute, a world-leading SFI Research Centrecomprised of researchers and clinicians from University College Cork, Teagasc (the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority) and Cork Institute of Technology.
“DuPont and the APC Microbiome Institute in Cork, will together represent a perfect partnership in pursuit of fresh ideas and in translating microbiome science for human welfare” according to Professor Fergus Shanahan, Director of the APC and Clinical Gastroenterologist at Cork University Hospital, “and we want to ensure rigorous science is behind future products developed by this collaboration.”
“Microbiome science is developing extremely fast with tremendous opportunity for innovation. As one of the pioneers in the field of the microbiome, the APC has significant breadth and depth in microbiome science capability including an impressive track record in the areas of mother-infant and gut-brain axis. This made them an ideal partner for DuPont Nutrition & Health’s new venture” said DuPont Nutrition & Health Global Technology and Innovation leader, Angela Naef.
Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said, “Science Foundation Ireland strongly welcomes this collaboration between DuPont Nutrition & Health and the APC Microbiome Institute. SFI Research Centres such as APC are creating essential links with industry to drive innovation and address global research challenges. This collaboration also supports important regional development and further enhances Ireland’s international reputation for research excellence. We look forward to seeing the results of this partnership, with the development of cutting-edge research and commercialisation capabilities.”
“We are delighted to be working with DuPont Nutrition & Health on this exciting project, which we are confident will lead to new innovations in infant gut microbiome science, for advancing infant health and development,” said Professor Catherine Stanton, project leader of this new DuPont collaboration at the APC Microbiome Institute.
The human microbiome comprises all the microbes that live in and on the body. In fact, there are as many microbes living in the human gut as there are cells in the human body. Academic research over the past 10 years has demonstrated the significant role these microbes play in human health and disease, yielding revealing facts about how a healthy microbiome can be established in early life:
- At birth, the infant acquires its microbiota from its mother by the transfer of microbes resident in the birth canal, gut, breast milk and skin to the infant.
- By about two years, a mature microbiome has developed in the infant, with digestive and immune system development linked to that of the microbiome.
- The infant’s microbiome composition is influenced by birth mode, antibiotic use and breast milk components such as Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs).