Ongoing Projects

Weaning-microbiota interplay

Weaning is the most challenging period where the gut microbiota undergoes a prompt ecological succession that impacts immune responses upon induction of various factors. We are assessing whether dietary nutrients influence the microbial establishment and their metabolites production using axenic or gnotobiotic models ranging from highly reductionist models involving one- or two- microbes to intermediate and high complex microbial consortia and through computational metagenomic-metabolomic frameworks.

Weaning reaction and lifelong immunity

The interplay between the immune system and the microbiota impacts our lifelong immunity. The vast expansion of microbiota during weaning period induces strong immune reactivity in the intestine, termed the “weaning reaction”. Why this immune reaction generated only at weaning period and how it regulating the future immune responses remains unclear. The laboratory is assessing the underlying cellular and immunological mechanisms behind the generation of the weaning reaction and its role in shaping the trajectory of lifelong immunity.

Pathological immune imprinting

Programming or imprinting the immune system by dietary components and microbiota early in life has a long-lasting consequence on the health of the host. Accumulating evidences showed that inappropriate nutrition and alteration of microbial communities (dysbiosis) early in infancy dysregulate the development and the maturation of mucosal immunity promoting the susceptibility to develop multiple pathologies later in life. We are assessing the underlying immunological and epigenetic mechanisms involved in the pathological imprinting of dysbiotic-associated diseases including type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, cancer, allergies, obesity, auto-immunity and neurodegenerative disorders.

Our projects are supported by:

  • European Research Council starting grant (ERC-StG)
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - Sinergia
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - Project
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - ERA-Net JPND
  • Helmut Horten Foundation
  • Swiss Cancer Research Foundation
  • Ruth & Arthur Scherbarth Foundation
  • Novartis Foundation
  • Kenneth Rainin Foundation – USA
  • Alzheimer's Association – USA