Nathan Vanwinsen

Phd Student

nathan VanwinsenNathan does research in the field of Tryptophan metabolism and its impact on host-microbe crosstalk in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

He got his Master of science in Bioscience Engineering: Cell and gene biotechnology at Ghent university in 2022.

Thesis (2021-2022) at NutriFOODchem research group (Ghent University) with promotors  prof. John Van Camp and prof. Matthias D’hooghe: The impact of curcumin analogues on the intestinal epithelium in the context of colon cancer.

Obtained FWO PhD fellowship strategic basic research in 2022 with promotor prof. Tom Van de Wiele (CMET, Ghent University) and  co-promotor John Van Camp (NutriFOODchem, Ghent University): Tryptophan metabolism and its impact on host-microbe crosstalk in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Abstract of FWO project:
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a widespread disorder for which no cure exists. Tryptophan may be an interesting amino acid to alleviate IBS symptoms, although a large inter-individual variability exists. This is caused by the limited knowledge on the complex host-microbe interactions involved in IBS and in tryptophan metabolism from both human and microbial side.

In this project, we aim to unravel the key factors for successful tryptophan intervention by gaining knowledge on key microbial players, key (tryptophan) metabolites and cellular responses at the intestinal epithelial level. Practically, we will first collect faecal samples from healthy volunteers and IBS patients. In a next step, we will use bioreactor technologies, microbial cell sorting techniques and tryptophan enrichment to create different microbial communities leading to a diversity in tryptophan (and other) metabolites.

A selection of these microbiomes will then be added to a set of cell cultures, in which enterocytes, enteroendocrine and mast cells are combined. Finally, the most promising combinations will be characterised by molecular techniques and state-of-the-art metabolomics. The obtained knowledge on metabolic networks between the host and the microbial community upon tryptophan supplementation can be used for the development of tryptophan-containing foods and food supplements, personalised nutrition for IBS patients and possibly also for other diseases in which the gut-brain axis plays a role.

Contact & Information

Nathan Vanwinsen