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Dr. Sasha Zhernakova is an assistant professor and a Rosalind Franklin Fellow at the University of Groningen. Her research interest lies in understanding the complex interplay of environmental and genetic components in predisposition to common diseases and traits, including aging, gastrointestinal and immune-mediated diseases. Her group at the department of Genetics performs the data analysis of interaction of host genetics and intestinal bacteria in relation to gut health, including analysis of case-control and population cohorts. She is also studying the effect of diet and environmental factors on gut microbiome and health.
The abstract: The human gut microbiome composition is a complex trait that is influenced by many internal and environmental factors, such as genetic, diseases and diet. We studied the relation of 207 internal and environmental phenotypes on gut microbiome in 1200 subjects from population cohort LifeLines-DEEP. Multiple dietary factors have strong effect on gut microbiome composition, diversity and abundance of particular species. In particular, fruits, vegetables, sourmilk and red wine were among those that increase the diversity of microbiome and therefore likely have a beneficial effect on gut health. We also identified complex relations between genotypes of lactose gene, milk intake, and microbiome composition, which relates to individuals gastrointestinal complaints.