Asthma and obesity are globally important chronic inflammatory disorders that require urgent action, therefore the research aims of this proposed PhD are to:
(1) Define the difference in gut permeability and gut microbe derived endotoxin (bacterial fragments) between subjects with and without asthma; before and after a prebiotic galactooligosaccharide feeding;
(2) investigate the effect of prebiotic intervention on the quality of life, physical activity, asthma symptoms, and disease control in obese asthmatics;
(3) Delineate the mechanisms of endotoxin and prebiotic galactooligosaccharide action using in vitro lung and adipose cells and ex vivo peripheral mononuclear blood cells derived from obese asthmatics.
We will use a variety of in vivo and in vitro analysis using molecular biology and physiology state of the art equipment within NTU and in conjunction with external collaborators.
Double blinded cross-over prebiotic dietary intervention ((n=40; single daily dose; 4 weeks with placebo or treatment, 2 weeks wash out, 4 weeks with placebo or treatment) using participants with and without asthma (over varying BMIs)). Samples taken will include breath, blood (PBMCs), urine and faecal samples.
Study 1 –Define gut microbiota composition and systemic inflammation; gut microbiota analysis support from Professor Glenn Gibson and Dr Gemma Walton Reading University.
Study 2 –Analyse biochemical markers, asthma severity, gut permeability, VOCs and physiology.
Study 3 – in vitro molecular work on lung and adipose tissue will assess inflammatory pathways and mitochondrial function. Prof Philip McTernan has accessible tissue banks; mitochondrial expertise support provided by Prof Helen Maddock Coventry University.
Ambition & Innovation
This novel intervention could be a key adjunct therapy to improve disease management, enhance quality of life and reduce the health related costs of managing asthma in weight gain.
Applicants must apply using the online form on the University Alliance website at https://unialliance.ac.uk/dta/cofund/how-to-apply-2/
. Full details of the programme, eligibility details and a list of available research projects can be seen at https://unialliance.ac.uk/dta/cofund/
The final deadline for application is 12 April 2019.