The role of gut microbiome in chronic inflammatory diseases: developing tools for analysis of interventions

1st January 2019 - ongoing

Status: Active

Specialism: Lower GI.

Team: Dr Ana ValdesDr Tanya MonaghanDr Jane Grove.

Principal Investigator: Dr Ana Valdes

Co-Investigators: Dr Tanya Monaghan & Dr Jane Grove

Researchers: Dr Stuart Astbury & Dr Edmond Atallah


The gut microbiome, the name given to the community of bacteria inside the gut, influences a person’s health through inflammation, immune response, insulin resistance among others. It is modifiable by diet and therapy. The gut microbiome encodes over 3 million genes producing thousands of metabolites replacing many of the functions of the host consequently influencing the host’s fitness, phenotype, and health as well as immune response, insulin sensitivity and fatty acid metabolism. The composition of the gut microbiome has now been shown to be strongly associated with a number of inflammatory disorders.


Our aim is to generate gut microbiome pilot data in healthy individuals and also people with liver disease. We also want to estimate how different is the gut microbiome between British and Indian cohorts and how large are the differences due to diseases. The gut microbiome is modifiable by diet (probiotics and prebiotics) and faecal transplantation making this a field of translational interest in particular for personalised medicine approaches. The gut microbiota differs greatly across individuals and is deeply involved in host metabolism and food digestion and recent studies have shown that an individual’s microbiome composition can be used to be more accurate in predicting post prandial glycaemic responses to a given meal than glycaemic index scores.

Our Study:

Recent studies show that the composition of the gut microbiome affects the development of the immune system and modulates immune mediators, which in turn affect the intestinal barrier. Gut microbiome dysbiosis has been related to increased susceptibility to certain diseases including colon cancer and Crohn’s disease, in addition to gut infections such as C difficile. Altered gut barrier has been associated with increased permeability and bacterial translocation, a key step in the progression of chronic liver diseases. Although it is well known that there are strong ethnic differences in gut microbiome influenced by both genetics and lifestyle to date in the UK the gut microbiome has only been investigated in white participants.

Research Team:

Dr Ana Valdes and Dr Jane Grove are part of a GCRF collaboration with Population Health and Research Institute currently investigating the effect of a dietary intervention on liver fat and microbiota in a cohort of patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in Trivandrum in India.

Dr Tanya Monaghan is currently undertaking a molecular epidemiology study of C difficile infection in Central India in collaboration with the Central India Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur, Mahatma Gandhi Tribal Hospital, Melghat and the Advanced Data Analysis Centre (ADAC, UoN).

The project will generate preliminary data on ethnic differences in the gut microbiome supporting our work in India and the global health goals of the NIHR Nottingham BRC.

Photo Name Bio
Dr Ana Valdes Ana M. Valdes received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, USA, where she specialized in Genetic Epidemiology. She is a Reader and Associate professor at the University of Nottingham. Her research is focused on deciphering…
dr-tanya-monaghan Dr Tanya Monaghan Dr Monaghan came to Nottingham in 2006 and took up the position as the first NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Gastroenterology. Alongside clinical training, she worked in the laboratory of Professor Yash Mahida. She was subsequently awarded a Wellcome…
dr-jane-grove Dr Jane Grove I am an Assistant Professor in the Hepatology Group in the NIHR Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre and the MRC-funded Nottingham Molecular Pathology Node ( My research includes translational research projects in the following…
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