Naamdr. S Brugman

OrganisatieDepartement Dierwetenschappen
OrganisatieeenheidHost-Microbe Interactomics
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Host-Microbe interactions in health and disease: using the zebrafish model to study dysbiosis

All organisms on earth need to find a way to interact with the world they live in. In particular, the interaction with the numerous microbes that live in and on our bodies pose a complex challenge. On the one hand, beneficial species that protect pathogens from colonizing and help us digest food should be tolerated, while on the other hand, those that can cause disease must be eliminated or suppressed. One of the surfaces that is faced with this dichotomy is the intestinal surface. In our group we make use of the zebrafish as a model to interrogate pathways involved in controlling bacterial colonization at the intestinal surface. The zebrafish is a unique model in that it is exposed to the outside world from fertilization onwards. Development of the animal and its immune system goes hand in hand with bacterial colonization. Disturbances of this development might lead to dysbiosis and increased susceptibility to disease later in life. What cells and mediators are involved in establishing homeostasis in the intestine? What are the influences of feed, antibiotics or pollutants on the microbiota and disease susceptibility? In what way does dysbiosis contribute to disease susceptibility? In previous research, we have shown that adaptive immunity (in particular T lymphocytes) play a role in suppressing Vibrio species in the intestines of zebrafish. This suppression was accompanied by an increased expression of chemokine cxcl8a (interleukin 8) in the epithelial cells (1,2). Current research is focusing on the molecular mechanism by which Vibrio and possible other pathobionts are suppressed. By making use of the early life transparency of the zebrafish combined with the availability of transgenic (immune cell) reporter fish we are currently investigating the role of cxcl8a and regulatory cytokines (IL22 and IL10) during development from eggs to larvae to juveniles in which the fish transition from animals that solely rely on innate immunity to fish that have both innate and adaptive immune function. We investigate the effect of feed, antibiotics and other water pollutants during this development on the host as well as its microbiota and aim to understand what processes might underly increased intestinal disease susceptibility.

Current projects:

NWO-TTW: Fishing for functional feeds: using the zebrafish as a screening model to assess novel fish feeds

NWO-ENW: Keeping the peace at the microbial surface: how does the host control pathobionts

WIAS: It takes IL-22 to tango

EWUU-CUCo grant: Defeating chronic pain

Protein transition Biochemistry project: Establishing a multidisciplinary pipeline to assess protein functionality

Protein transition project: Using the zebrafish to assess the effect of fermented feed on gut health and microbiota

Sociale media
  Sylvia Brugman op Twitter @sylvia_brugman

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TTW project 15566: Fishing for functional feed: understanding the immune modulatory effects of novel feed ingredients to secure fish health

To date, fish represent 16 percent of all animal protein consumed globally and the consumption of fish as animal protein is expected to grow rapidly. To meet the increasing demand more and more fish are farmed, instead­­­­­ of captured. To feed these fish, the aquaculture industry is continuously searching for novel sustainable and healthy alternatives for (ecologically and economically) expensive feed components such as fishmeal. However, alternatives such as soybean meal often cause intestinal inflammation in fish. To date, not much is known on the interaction of dietary components and the intestinal immune system and health of fish. In this project, we will use the zebrafish to pre-screen feed ingredients for their potential to secure fish health. The use of young and thus transparent zebrafish of transgenic reporter fish lines allows for non-invasive in vivo monitoring of inflammation as well as direct assessment of gut barrier function. We will generate much-needed fundamental scientific data on the interaction between diet and gut immunity in an important model fish species. Our partner Skretting ARC (world leader in the manufacture and supply of aquaculture feeds) will apply this knowledge to further develop health promoting diets for aquaculture species such as salmon.



NWO-ENW Klein subsidie

Voorkomen van uitgroei van slechte darmbacteriën; lessen uit de natuur

Darmbacteriën zijn belangrijk voor onze gezondheid. Verstoringen in de darmbacterie-samenstelling kunnen leiden tot ziekten zoals chronische darmontstekingen. Doordat het afweersysteem niet goed werkt kunnen bepaalde bacteriën (pathobionten) toenemen in aantal en ziekte veroorzaken. In dit onderzoek bestuderen we dit in zebravissen. In de zebravis kunnen we de cellen van het afweersysteem en de darmbacteriën zeer goed controleren en zo analyseren welke mechanismen een rol spelen bij het beheersen van 'slechte' bacteriën. Als we snappen hoe het afweersysteem deze pathobionten beheerst, kunnen we die kennis gebruiken om bij verstoorde darmbacterie-samenstelling het evenwicht te herstellen zonder antibiotica te gebruiken.

WIAS grant PhD project Evelien Kidess

It takes IL-22 to tango

In this project we aim to unravel the dual role of cytokine IL-22 (immune mediator) in intestinal health and energy homeostasis. This project will use the zebrafish model as well as organoids. In this project we collaborate with dr. Vincent de Boer from Human and Animal Physiology at ASG-WUR.

Centre for Unusual collaborations grant (CUCo)

Defeating chronic pain

In this interdisciplary grant we work together in a team of researchers from linguistics, engineering, medical and veterinary medice, molecular immunology, neuroscience, behavioural sciences and psychology to understand and defeat chronic pain. Within this project we aim to: 1) construct an easy to understand and discipline-overarching metaphor-definition of chronic pain, 2) increase awareness of chronic pain by participation in outreach activities (such as the Betweterfestival), 3) conduct data analyses on patient data to uncover previously unknown subtypes of chronic pain patients, 4) develop  “unusual” patient questionnaires to replace  previous intake forms of the Utrecht pain centre, 5) perform research on animal species and humans to understand molecular pathways in (chronic) pain. We contribute our knowledge on intestinal inflammation and molecular immunology.  

Protein transition - Biochemistry call

Understanding protein digestion of new alternative sources through a unique multi-platform pipeline

In order to make the protein transition towards new sustainable sources a success, we need knowledge on specific characteristics of proteins in the context of digestibility and effect on immune function. Therefore, we link to ‘the need for more and better proteins’ domain as described in the investment theme plan. Our multi-level approach enables us to test this, allowing us to understand and determine nutrient quality of new protein sources. It will help developing specific targeted processing strategies to improve digestibility, bioavailability and minimizing unwanted immune effects, therefore delivering breakthroughs in quality of (plant-based) protein sources for human and animal nutrition

Protein transition -

The effect of fermentation on food and feed bioavailability and immune responses

In this project we work together with colleagues at Food and Biobased Research and Food microbiology to understand the effect of fermented food and feed on digestibility and immune activation. 


HMI20306 Microbiomes and Health

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