The Laboratory of Digestion and Absorption is part of TARGID, the Translational Research Center in Gastrointestinal Disorders, which combines interdisciplinary basic and translational research in the field of Gastroenterology and Nutrition. The specific aims of the Laboratory of Digestion and Absorption are to study the impact of the intestinal microbial activity on host physiology and gut health in healthy subjects and in patient groups in which an abnormal bacterial metabolism is expected and to evaluate strategies that improve gut health. We use mass spectrometry and stable isotope and raditioactive isotope tracer techniques to quantitatively analyse the metabolic processes occurring in the colon and to characterise the intestinal microbial activity.
The human large intestine harbours a complex microbial ecosystem, called the microbiota, that is metabolically very active. Short chain fatty acids are metabolites produced by the microbiota by fermentation of undigested carbohydrates (such as fibres) with health promoting properties. They act as energy substrates for the intestinal cells, have anti-inflammatory properties and improve the glucose and lipid metabolism. Administration of prebiotics is an efficient strategy to stimulate the production of short chain fatty acids in the intestine.
In this multidisciplinary project, new pectin derivatives (prebiotics in several fruits and vegetables) will be created by the colleagues of the faculty of Bioingeneering Sciences. Their structure and physico-chemical properties will be carefully characterised. The PhD student will investigate how the structure of these pectins affects the production of short chain fatty acids. He/she will provide feedback so that through intensive interaction one or more pectin structures with optimal characteristics will be selected. Finally, the health promoting properties of this pectin structures will be evaluated in a human intervention study.
The PhD student will come into contact with multidisciplinary research and will get the opportunity to use state-of-the-art technology.
For more information please contact Prof. dr. Kristin Verbeke, tel.: +32 16 33 01 50, mail: email@example.com.
You can apply for this job no later than June 16, 2018 via the online application tool
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