High-accuracy long-read amplicon sequencing for strain level analyses of microbial succession during colonization of the human gut.

01 March 2021 → 28 February 2025
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Microbiome
    • Medical microbiomics
    • Microbiome
Technological improvement colonization complex microbial communities amplicon sequencing human-associated microbiota
Project description

During the past decades it became clear that bacterial communities on and in the body have a huge impact on human health and well-being. Despite our exponentially increased knowledge on the human gut microbiome, little is known about the exact colonization of the gut by microbial strains. Knowledge on the consecutive sequence of different bacterial species and families could lead to more adequate treatments of diseases linked to so-called dysbiosis or disturbances of the gut microbiota. At present, however, there are also technological aspects that prevent detailed characterization of complex microbial communities.

In this project, colonization of the human gut will be studied using consecutive fecal samples from newborns. To this end, a technological improvement will first be developed, which will allow to obtain very accurate, long amplicon sequences. The length of these sequences will allow to study the bacterial composition of the complex microbial community at species and strain level. Subsequently, this technique will be used to analyze a dense fecal sample set of newborns. This sample set initially consists of samples from 2 babies whose fecal samples were collected daily for the first months (up to month 24). Based on the observations in these two newborns, additional samples will then be organized, targeting potentially important episodes in colonization of the gut.

The outcome of this project is therefore on the one hand a technological improvement that allows accurate analyzes of complex microbial communities and on the other hand a first in-depth insight into the bacterial colonization of the human intestine.