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Identification of microbial and cellular biomarkers for Short Bowel Syndrome in a combined in vitro-in vivo study

Project description

In vitro models of short bowel syndrome

Following extensive resection, the remaining small intestine may be of insufficient length to absorb nutrients, leading to short bowel syndrome (SBS). SBS is associated with significant malnutrition, and patients must take lifelong supplements. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the SBS-microbe project aims to shed light on SBS pathogenesis, focusing on microbiota, metabolic and cellular changes occurring after resection. Researchers plan to develop in vitro models to study disease progression and the role of host−microbiota interactions. The identification of SBS drivers will unveil key targets for triggering intestinal homeostasis.


Short bowel syndrome (SBS) is a severe intestinal disorder that occurs in patients upon small bowel resection. While rare in prevalence, SBS severely affects the patient’s quality of life. SBS-microbe is a multidisciplinary translational project aimed at expanding our knowledge on SBS pathogenesis and the mechanisms for resection-induced physiological adaptations, through the identification of microbial, metabolic and cellular hallmarks. It integrates a combination of SHIME, as dynamic gastrointestinal (GI) model, with epithelial cellular models and in vivo patients’ data, to gain a better mechanistic insight in disease progression, severity and the interplay with the microbiota. It may additionally propose attractive therapeutic strategies and provide valuable tools to address physiological aspects for both healthy and pathological conditions, without the recourse to animal models. Hosted in the Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology at Ghent University, this proposal includes a secondment with SBS medical and metagenomics experts at KULeuven. The applicant’s microbiology and cell biology expertise will be expanded with reactor engineering skills, facilitating the development of novel in vitro models to address host-microbiota interactions in a simulated SBS environment. The secondment at KULeuven offers the opportunity to gain a better insight in cohort composition and identify determinants that potentially underlie the patient’s clinical condition, which is crucial for the mechanistic in vitro work.
Through the development of a GI and epithelial cellular models, SBS-microbe aims at identifying key microbial and cellular signatures occurring after intestinal resection. Additionally, this will enable the proof-of-concept that targeting specific microbial and metabolic markers may significantly empower the intestinal homeostasis in SBS and ameliorate the quality of life of these patients.


Net EU contribution
€ 175 920,00
9000 Gent

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Vlaams Gewest Prov. Oost-Vlaanderen Arr. Gent
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data

Partners (1)