22 March 2017
The impact of diet and lifestyle on gut microbiota in mitochondrial and metabolic disease is an important area of research for David Houghton from the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University. A Travelling Fellowship from Disease Models & Mechanisms allowed David to travel to the Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition (ICAN) in Paris. There, he was able to refine his techniques for extracting DNA from mouse stool samples, increasing the yield and quality of the DNA he obtained for downstream analysis, and to work on the next-generation sequencer and improve his understanding of library preparation and sample optimisation. The most crucial part of David’s visit, however, was the number of collaborations he was able to set up. He worked with Prof Joseph Petrosino and Dr Christopher Stewart at Baylor University, and Jan Suchodolski at Texas A&M on sequencing analysis and developing his understanding of bioinformatics pipelines, both crucial to David’s future research. Through David’s work at ICAN and Baylor University he has planned a future project with Dr Lindsay Hall, a microbiologist based in food research at the University of East Anglia. Thanks to his Travelling Fellowship from The Company of Biologists, David has also developed links for future analyses with Dr Brandon Kayser at ICAN, who is heavily involved in omics as part of a number of projects. Further planned projects include the development of methods and pipelines that may be used in a collaboration with Dr Laura Greaves and Dr Grainne Gorman to investigate the interactions between lifestyle and mitochondrial disease, with implications for a number of metabolic disorders inherently linked with mitochondrial dysfunction, such as type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and metabolic syndrome.