On Thursday 18th October 2018, EUFIC hosted the MyNewGut final conference at the Stanhope Hotel in Brussels. The conference marked the culmination of the project, which over the last five years investigated the gut microbiome to prevent diet-related and behavioural disorders. The event was attended by around 120 participants, including representatives from the European Commission, project partners and interested stakeholders.
The main aim of the conference was to bring all consortium partners together and present the ground-breaking results of five years of research. The results showed that the influence of the gut microbiota on health is complex. Many factors such as proteins, fats and fibre all have different impacts on the microbiome and its metabolites depending on the food source and quantity. Further, the gut microbiome also influences gut health, affects cognitive function and the incidence of depression. The project outcomes are expected to support new dietary recommendations to guide consumers towards healthier food choices such as high intake of different fibre types, choosing polyunsaturated fats (seeds, nuts, fish) over saturated fat and being cautious in utilising high-protein diets on the long-term for weight loss.
The event was inaugurated with a keynote speech by Barend Verachtert, Head of Agri-Food Chain Unit of DG Research & Innovation, EC, who made a powerful statement ’Scientific research is useless without empowerment of the community in his talk about the EC’s FOOD2030 initiative. Next, Dirk Hadrich, Innovative and Personalised Medicine Unit, Health Directorate, DG Research & Innovation, EC, provided more in-depth information about funding human microbiome research in the European Union (EU). The first session concluded with project coordinator, Yolanda Sanz, giving an overview of the main project achievements.
The second session focused on ‘Microbiome-diet interactions in obesity and eating behaviour’, with Francois Blachier from INRA, France, talking about High-Protein Diets (HPD). Max Nieuwdorp from AMC, The Netherlands, then discussed what matters in metabolic health – microbes, metabolites or both. Next, Patrizia Brigidi from UNIBO, Italy, compared obese and lean gut microbiota before Sandrine Claus form UREAD, UK, closed the session with a talk on personal metabolic responses to diet.
In the third session ‘Gut-brain axis: A new route for programming health and mood’, three keynote speakers took the lead. First, Catherine Stanton from UCC, Ireland, talked about the impact of microbiota on the immune system of children followed by Cristina Campoy from UGR, Spain, who spoke about factors influencing the gut microbiome in infant studies, whereas Peter Holzer from MUG, Austria, concluded the session with a talk on the impact of a high fat diet on the gut and on mental health.
The focus of the fourth session was on ‘Translating microbiome science into applications.’ The three keynote speakers were Nathalie Delzenne from UCL, Belgium, explaining the dietary fibre impact on gut microbiota and the role of DDP-4 on the gut-liver axis, next Ted Dinan from UCC, Ireland, talked about psychobiotics and stress resilience, followed by, Thomas Meinert Larsen from UCPH, Denmark, who explained a study which is submitted for publication on prebiotic supplementation.
Two keynote speakers covered the fifth session of the day on ‘Implications of microbiome science for public health’. Namely, Jan-Willem van der Kamp from TNO, The Netherlands, provided insight into microbiome-informed dietary guidelines on proteins and fats, as well as dietary fibre intake recommendations. Finally, Ted Dinan in a second talk concluded on the role of microbiota in major depression suggesting potential treatment recommendations within the gut microbiome.
The closing session was chaired by project coordinator Yolanda Sanz speaking words of thanks to all attendees and partners of the consortium. The final presentation of the day was held by Carina Pereira from DG Research & Innovation, EC, highlighting the next steps towards a climate-smart and sustainable food system for a healthy Europe.
You can find the speakers presentations below: