The scientific and microbiome-focused duo announced their large-scale infant health research project that will explore the role of the microbiome in human health.
The four-year, $7 million (€6.3 mn) research project will use their findings that aims to produce a healthy microbiome in early life that will support individuals’ long-term health.
The project, called Missing Microbes in Infants born by C-section (MiMIC), will explore the potential to improve infant health through understanding more about the pivotal role that the microbiome plays before, during and after birth.
The research project is jointly funded by DuPont and Science Foundation Ireland’s Spokes program. With funding in hand, DuPont N&B will now work with APC to help uncover products and findings integral to their human microbiome platform.
Martin J. Kullen, Ph.D., Director of Probiotics and Microbiome Research at DuPont N&B, stated the company looks forward to “providing critical health offerings for key unmet needs around maternal and infant health as well as solutions for cognitive health and wellbeing."
Professor Paul Ross, director of APC, said that teaming up with the global leader in microbiome science will strengthen their capabilities for advancing infant health and development.
Factors that influence health
During the first four years of an infant’s life, the population of gut bacteria grows and plays a key role in their overall health, Dupont N&B revealed. Creating a healthy gut microbiome in early life is influenced by factors such as birth mode, antibiotic use and nutrition.
However, cesarean births or exposure to antibiotics can significantly decrease gut microbiota diversity in infants, the company explained. One suggested recommendation, Dupont N&B pointed out, is breastfeeding, which it stated can improve microbiota composition.
Building upon its research and development capabilities in infant research that help to develop food and pharmaceutical industries, APC said they will continue to explore the role of microbes in early life.
“This project will allow us to identify the gut microbes in early life that play an important role in the short- and long-term health of individuals and will help to develop strategies to balance the microbiota following antibiotic exposure or C-section birth mode,” shared Professor Catherine Stanton, Project Leader at APC Microbiome Ireland.
The research team also includes Professor John Cryan, who leads brain-gut-microbiome research at APC SFI Research Centre, along with Professor Eugene Dempsey, Consultant Neonatologist at Cork University Maternity Hospital and Clinical Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Pediatrics and Child Health, APC SFI Research Centre, as well as the Infant Research Centre (UCC).
“We look forward to seeing the results of this industry partnership and its impact on public health,” said Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland.
In 2017, DuPont launched its Human Microbiome Venture (HMV) to progress the development of next-generation microbiome solutions that respond to consumer calls to enhance health and wellness as well as advance product development and industry knowledge in prebiotics, microbes, proteins and enzymes.