Wednesday, April 23, 2014
In my show, “Stop Being a Yo-Yo“, I joke about the notion that the bugs that live in your gut can be significant contributors to your weight problems.
All joking aside, the emerging recognition that your intestinal flora (a fancy term for gut bugs) can indeed affect your metabolism and other aspects of your health in rapidly evolving into one of the most promising avenues of nutrition and obesity research.
Reason enough for me to welcome Jens Walter, a new recruit to the University of Alberta as the Campus Alberta Innovation Program (CAIP) Chair for Nutrition, Microbes and Gastrointestinal Health.
Jens describes his research interest as follows:
“Dr. Walter’s research is primarily concerned with the microbial ecology of the human and animal gastrointestinal tract and the metabolic and immunological interactions between the microbiome and its host in relation to health. He views the interrelationship of gut microbes with their host as a symbiosis and is especially interested in the evolutionary processes that have shaped this partnership and the biological outcomes for both the host and the microbes. He is also interested in how environmental factors (such as diet and lifestyle) and historic processes impact the microbial communities in the gut and what consequences their effects have for the host. His research, which is inter-disciplinary and highly collaborative, has resulted in several publications on the evolution of the model gut symbiont Lactobacillus reuteri, the importance of environmental (diet) and host factors (host genotype) on the composition and functionality of the gut microbiota, and the impact of diet on gut microbial ecology in relation to health.”
As a regular reader you will appreciate my excitement in having Jens join our institution as we venture into studying the role that gut bugs may play in obesity.
On a personal note, the fact that Jens hails from Germany and we share an interest in music makes this recruitment even more attractive.
I certainly wish Jens all the best in his new position and look forward to future collaborations.