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Gut health and microbiome

The ECU Gut Health Research team is led by Dr Christophersen, who is a molecular microbiologist specialising in the role of the gut microbiome in health and disease. The team is undertaking a range of studies to help understand the complex interaction between the gut microbiome, diet and/or disease, and the host response.

The team has several human intervention studies underway in different target groups; ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, low anterior resection syndrome and gestational diabetes. These include dietary changes, addition of supplements and therapies to modulate the gut microbiome composition and fermentation leading to a more beneficial gut environment with an enhanced metabolome that will work with the individual towards a healthier life. A healthy gut microbiome has been shown to benefit a variety of health issues, including athlete performance, quality of life, mood and mental health. The team’s research is examining these issues across multiple projects and has recently also started to include the effect of sleep. Due to the complexity of this research we often work in large interdisciplinary teams to better understand the systems biology which also puts us in a better position to translate our research into practise. For that reason, several of our studies are also undertaken at local hospitals to shorten the translational to practise pathway.

For more information, contact Dr Claus Christophersen or Professor Amanda Devine

Current projects

Research team

  • Dr Rachel McCormick
  • Michael Furfaro, APD

PhD candidates

  • Bronwen Charlesson
  • Catherine Latino
  • Charlene Grosse
  • Eleonora Stojanoska
  • Jo Rees
  • Kane Deering
  • Tina Yan

Masters by Research candidate

  • Mandy Murphy

Key publications

Armaghan Shafaei, Jo Rees, Claus Christophersen, Amanda Devine, David Broadhurst and Mary Boyce (2021). Extraction and quantitative determination of bile acids in feces. Analytica Chimica Acta, vol 1150. Doi: 10.1016/j.aca.2021.338224

Juliana Durack, Claus T. Christophersen (2020). Human respiratory and gut microbiomes - do they really contribute to respiratory health? Frontiers in Pediatrics (Review); vol 8. DOI: 10.3389/fped.2020.00528

Yan, R., Murphy, M., Genoni, A., Marlow, E., Dunican, I.C., Lo, J., Andrew, L., Devine, A., & Christophersen, CT (2020). Does Fibre-fix provided to people with irritable bowel syndrome who are consuming a low FODMAP diet improve their gut health, gut microbiome, sleep and mental health? A double-blinded, randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open Gastroenterology; 7:e000448. DOI: 10.1136/bmjgast-2020-000448

Joanna Rees, Claus T. Christophersen, Joshua R. Lewis, Johnny Lo, Ros Sambell, Leesa Costello, Cailyn Walker, Matt F. Byrne, Mary C. Boyce, Robert U. Newton and Amanda Devine (2020). The study protocol for a pseudo-randomised pre-post designed controlled intervention trial to study the effects of a 7-week cooking program on self-efficacy and biomarkers of health: the ECU lifestyle and biomarkers get connected study (ECULABJMOF) including the Jamie’s Ministry of Food WA participant experience. BMC Public Health, 20:1037, DOI: 10.1186/s12889-020-09124-3

Kane E. Deering, Amanda Devine, Therese A. O'Sullivan, Johnny Lo, Mary C. Boyce, Claus T. Christophersen (2020). Characterizing the composition of the pediatric gut microbiome: A systematic review. Nutrients, 12 (16). DOI:10.3390/nu12010016

Charlene S. J. Grosse, Claus T. Christophersen, Amanda Devine & Ian C. Lawrance (2020): The role of a plant-based diet in the pathogenesis, etiology and management of the inflammatory bowel diseases. Expert Review of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, DOI:10.1080/17474124.2020.1733413

Leon A Adams, Zhengyi Wang, Chris Liddle, Phillip E. Melton, Amir Ariff, Harsha Chandraratna, Jeremy Tan, Helena Ching, Sally Coulter, Bastiaan de Boer, Claus T. Christophersen, Therese A. O’Sullivan, Mark Morrison and Gary P Jeffrey (2020). Bile acids associate with specific gut microbiota, low level alcohol consumption and liver fibrosis in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Liver International DOI: 10.1111/liv.14453

Geetha Gopalsamy, Elissa Mortimer, Paul Greenfield, Anthony R. Bird, Graeme P. Young and Claus T. Christophersen (2019). Resistant Starch is Actively Fermented by Infant Faecal Microbiota and Increases Microbial Diversity. Nutrients, 11(6), 1345. DOI: 10.3390/nu11061345.

Angela Genoni, Claus T. Christophersen, Johnny Lo, Megan Coghlan, Mary C. Boyce, Anthony R. Bird, Philippa Lyons-Wall and Amanda Devine (2019) Longterm Paleolithic diet is associated with lower resistant starch intake, different gut microbiota composition and increased serum TMAO concentrations. European Journal of Nutrition, DOI: 10.1007/s00394-019-02036-y.

Yanan Wang, Elissa K. Mortimer, Kondwani G.H. Katundu, Noel Kalanga, Lex E.X. Leong, Geetha L. Gopalsamy, Claus T. Christophersen, Alyson C. Richard, Aravind Shivasami, Guy C.J. Abell, Graeme P. Young and Geraint B. Rogers (2019). The capacity of the faecal microbiota from Malawian infants to ferment resistant starch. Frontiers in Microbiology. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01459

R. Newton, C. T. Christophersen, C. Fairman, N. Hart, D. Taaffe, D. Broadhurst, A. Devine, R. Chee, C. Tang, N. Spry and D. Galvao (2019). Does exercise impact gut microbiota composition in men receiving androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer? A single-blinded, two-armed, randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 9(4), e024872, DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-024872.

Angela Genoni, Johnny Lo, Philippa Lyons-Wall, Mary C. Boyce , Claus T. Christophersen, Anthony Bird, Amanda Devine (2019). A Paleolithic diet lowers resistant starch intake but does not affect serum trimethylamine-N-oxide concentrations in healthy women. British Journal of Nutrition, 121 (3): 322-329. doi:10.1017/S000711451800329X.

Thao T. Le, Armaghan Shafaei, Angela Genoni, Claus T. Christophersen, Amanda Devine, Johnny Lo, Philippa Lyons Wall, Mary C. Boyce (2019). Development and validation of a simple LC-MS/MS method for the simultaneous quantitative determination of trimethylamine N-oxide and the branched chain amino acids in human serum. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 411(5):1019-1028. doi: 10.1007/s00216-018-1522-8.

D.P. Belobrajdic, C.L.D. Jenkins, C.T. Christophersen and A.R. Bird (2018). Cereal fructan extracts alter intestinal fermentation to reduce adiposity and increase mineral retention compared to oligofructose. European Journal of Nutrition, DOI: 10.1007/s00394-018-1830-y.

Emma P. Halmos, Claus T. Christophersen, Anthony R. Bird, Susan J. Shepherd, Jane G. Muir and Peter R. Gibson (2016). Consistent Prebiotic Effect on Gut Microbiota with Altered FODMAP Intake in Patients with Crohn’s Disease: A Randomised, Controlled Cross-Over Trial of Well-Defined Diets, Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology, vol 7, e164; DOI:10.1038/ctg.2016.22.

Trevor J Lockett, Anthony R Bird, Claus T. Christophersen, Julie M Clarke, Michael A Conlon, David L Topping (2016). Microbes, Metabolites and Health, page 13-48. In Microbial Metabol200omics: Applications in Clinical, Environmental, and Industrial Microbiology, Editor(s): David Beale, Konstantinos Kouremenos and Enzo Palombo; Publisher: Springer.

Ying Hu, Richard K Le Leu, Claus T Christophersen, Roshini Somashekar, Michael A Conlon,  Xing Q Meng, Jean M Winter, Richard J Woodman, Ross McKinnon and Graeme P Young (2016). Manipulation of the gut microbiota using resistant starch is associated with protection against colitis-associated colorectal cancer in rats. Carcinogenesis. 37(4): 366-375. DOI: 10.1093/carcin/bgw019.

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