Home News

Safina Gadeock awarded HRC Emerging Researcher Award

Congratulations to Dr. Safina Gadeock, who was one of the 13 researchers awarded the HRC Emerging Researcher, 2024 for her study on "Interferon-alpha targets as prognostic biomarkers for IBD patients". She aims to validate an innovative Type I Interferon (immunomodulatory molecules) biomarker panel to predict response to anti-TNFs in a cohort of NZ and US IBD patients; and elucidate the mechanism(s) driving Type I Interferon-dependent regenerative responses and epithelial barrier integrity in responsive IBD patients. This study will steer the development of an innovative biomarker panel that will help gastroenterologists tailor therapy for the approximately 50 per cent of non-responsive IBD patients.


Industrialised societies have less cellulose-digesting gut bacteria

Cellulose is a ubiquitous material in nature that makes up the cell wall of plants, and is a major component of dietary fibre. Animals such as cows and sheep have specialised digestive tracts containing ruminant bacteria that allow them to extract energy from cellulose. In 2003, it was confirmed that humans also have some gut bacteria that can process cellulose. These bacteria play an important role in supporting other bacteria in the gut to promote a healthy gut microbiome.

A recent study has shown that humans are host to many more of this variety of bacteria than previously known ­– some related to those found in livestock and some from our primate ancestors. It was also shown that these cellulose-digesting bacteria are being lost from industrialised societies, possibly due to our diets becoming lower in fibre. The authors suggest there may be potential for reintroduction or enrichment of cellulose-digesting bacteria in the gut through dietary changes.