Bacteria in your gut have the potential to help or harm your health. They secrete substances (metabolites) that regulate immunity, metabolism, behaviour and organ function throughout the body, including in the brain, liver, skeletal muscle and bone. Depending on the metabolite and location, the effect can either be beneficial and support healthy ageing or detrimental, causing neurodegenerative conditions including dementia.
Such age-related health problems are on the rise in Southeast Asia, as nations face ageing populations. The impact of these health conditions stretch beyond the individual, resulting in increased caregiver burden for families and societies.
Therefore there is a pressing need to find novel ways to diagnose, monitor and treat such conditions, and bacteria in the gut may hold the key. The ASEAN Microbiome Nutrition Centre (AMNC) has been established to discover how gut microbes and their metabolites communicate with organs and influence health and ageing biology.
AMNC aspires to undertake research activities that aim to maintain functional capacity that delays progression of chronic age-related symptoms, to work closely with the food industry to develop microbiome-informed next generation food products, and to engage in education programmes to disseminate information on the interplay between gut microbes, nutrition and aging are in line with these needs.
The AMNC is a bidirectional partnership between Singapore and Malaysia engaging the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI) in Singapore and Sunway University in Malaysia, and an international virtual network Centre engaging several universities and institutes world-wide and in Singapore:
The Director of AMNC is Professor Sven Pettersson.
The key research activities at Singapore will be based at the S9 building, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore Kent Ridge Campus. At Malaysia, the key research activities will be led by Dr Say Yee How and will be based at the Department of Biological Sciences labs, School of Medical and Life Sciences, Sunway University, Sunway City.
Our Vision and Mission
AMNC forms an integral part in advancing the investigative research studies on various neurological and age-related diseases at NNI, including but not limited to Parkinson's disease, dementia, neuroinflammation, metabolic syndrome (type II diabetes, obesity).
Our main focus is the identification of gut microbe related mechanisms that regulate biological aging and validation of the identified microbe signaling pathways and metabolites that respond to food interventions and promote healthy aging in animal models and human pilot trials.
Food intervention guides gut microbes to promote a prolonged health span. Accelerated aging-related symptoms occur when communication between organs and gut microbes deteriorates and are strongly associated with changes in the gut microbe composition. While the eukaryotic genome is fixed, gut microbes, in stark contrast, are malleable and accessible to intervention strategies using food products.
We aim to set up collaborations and work closely with the local food industry to develop next generation food products that influence age-specific microbe-signaling pathways and undertake translational research in small clinical trials aiming to promote a healthy metabolic balance by manipulating the gut microbiota.
Our goal is also to engage in education programmes that aim to disseminate information on the interplay between gut microbes, nutrition and aging, ensuring training of next generation investigators and healthcare professionals and by participating in the development of self-instructive education programmes for families and the public at large.
News Release: New research centre to study how gut microbes in the human body affect health and ageing
Our NNI Team
DirectorProfessor Sven Pettersson, MD, PhDNils_Bertil_Sven_PETTERSSON@nni.com.sg; firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive DirectorDr Anusha JayaramanAnusha_JAYARAMAN@nni.com.sg
Personal Assistant to Prof SvenMavis Meng WeiMavis_MENG@nni.com.sg
Senior Research FellowDr George Zhang Weiwei_ZHANG@nni.com.sg
Research Officer IISofia Erin GeorgeSofia_ERIN_GEORGE@nni.com.sg
Our Scientific Advisory Board
Our Programmes & Collaborations
Food & Aging
Wei GZ, Martin KA, Xing PY, Agrawal R, Whiley L, Wood TK, Hejndorf S, Ng YZ, Low JZY, Rossant J, Nechanitzky R, Holmes E, Nicholson JK, Tan EK, Matthews PM, Pettersson S. Tryptophan-metabolizing gut microbes regulate adult neurogenesis via the aryl hydrocarbon receptor. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Jul 6;118(27):e2021091118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2021091118. PMID: 34210797; PMCID: PMC8271728.
Looking to collaborate with the AMNC or have any queries?
Contact Mavis at Mavis_MENG@nni.com.sg
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