New Funding for Systemic Nutritional Medicine Platform by DAMP FD.
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New Funding: Nutrition & Colitis-associated colorectal carcinogenesis
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BMBF Project: Improving diagnostics and therapy of food hypersensitivity
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Our Mission

Providing the best possible nutritional intervention for each individual to prevent and to treat diseases.

Our approach

Improving metabolic function by precision nutrition to control immunity

"Our credo is to interpret diet as a recurring metabolic challenge for our body which can be used as an effective modulator of cellular function. Therefore, personalized dietary interventions have the potential of reverting specific pathophysiologies."

Christian Sina, Professor of Nutritional Medicine & Chair, The INUM

Our research program

What are the determinants of our individual response to food?

 
What are the determinants of our individual response to food?
Lab for Precision Nutrition

Our Mission Statement

Developing advanced nutritional strategies for patients. Moving away from one size fits all approaches and shifting to data-driven precision and even personalized nutritional therapies. Evolving innovative concepts which include digital therapeutics, next generation nutraceuticals and tailored microbiome derived therapies in order to improve the lives of many patients especially with irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.

Our approach

The aim of our research is to provide the best possible nutritional therapy individually adapted to each patient in order to combat diseases early and effectively. For this purpose, we combine state of the art technologies such as confocal laser endomicroscopy and latest wearable applications with biomarker signatures from blood, stool and urine to study in detail the interindividual differences in metabolic and immune responses of people to food.

Selected projects

IBS Study cohort

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Principle investigator

Christian Sina

MD

Professor and Chair of Nutritional Medicine

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Christian Sina

Head of clinical trials & IBS program

Gastroenterology & Nutritional Medicine
 

Research Focus:

Luminal gastroenterology (IBS, IBD), personalized nutrition, digital therapeutics

Lab members

Mona Bickel, MD student
Focus: Digital anamnesis and data acquisition
Qiang Feng, PhD
Focus: Professor of Microbiomics (Shandong University, China)
Anna Kordowski, PhD
Focus: Cellbiology & Molecular Allergology
Vivian Lelleck, M.Sc.
Focus: Molecular Allergology
Anneke Mumm, B.Sc.
Focus: clinical dietetics
Bettina Mirgeler, MD
Focus: clinical trials & IBS outpatient center
Alicia Probst, MD student
Focus: IBS diagnostics
Franziska Schmelter, M.Sc.
Focus: food chemistry, NMR Metabolomics
Torsten Schröder, MD, PhD
Focus: Diabetologist, CMO Perfood GmbH, digital therapeutics
Greta Ahlemann
Focus: Clinical trials/nutritional therapy
Paul Reichel, MSc student
Focus: Clinical trials
Toktam Pour, MSc student
Focus: Medical writing

What are the molecular targets for effective dietary interventions?

 
What are the molecular targets for effective dietary interventions?
Lab of Molecular Gastroenterology

Our Mission Statement

Providing novel insights into how daily and constitutive interaction of the gut with diet-delivered nutrients or compounds improve its integrity or trigger intestinal inflammation that may boost tumor development in an individual manner. Our overriding goal is to decipher underlying molecular mechanisms of rising incidences of colorectal carcinoma patients at younger ages to develop tailored preventive strategies.

Our approach

To understand how the gut responds to individual dietary habits on the molecular level in the context of inflammation-driven carcinogenesis, we connect functional and metabolic data from cell biology with phenotypic and clinical data collected from human studies, intestinal 3D-organoid cultures or from animal models of acute or chronic intestinal inflammation as well as of inflammation-driven colorectal carcinogenesis. Our lab has long-standing experience in immunohistochemistry, fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, molecular cell biology and metabolic analyses of intestinal cells.

Selected projects

B-Cell Function in IBD
Complement System in Cancer & Inflammationarrow
Intestinal Aging and Colorectal Carcinogenesis

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Principle investigator

Stefanie Derer

PhD

Head of Molecular Gastroenterology

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Stefanie Derer

Head of Lab, work safety officer

Molecular Gastroenterology

 
Research Focus:
IBD, CRC, basic science

Lab members

Mohab Ragab, PhD student
Focus: Murine colitis models & intestinal 3D-organoid culture
Annika Raschdorf, PhD student
Focus: Molecular cell biology & intestinal metabolism
Lea Kubetzko, PhD student
Focus: Nutri-Inflammation in Oncology & intestinal 3D-organoid culture
Franziska Fetzer, MD student
Focus: Mitochondria function in CRC
Sophie Preisker, MD student
Focus: Intestinal complement system
Heidi Schlichting, TA
Focus: Immunohistochemistry
Maren Hicken, TA
Focus: Molecular cell biology
Jonas Hahn, MSc student
Focus: Nutrition & murine colitis models
Leon Saschin, MSc student
Focus: Mucosal immunity
Charlotte Bein, MD student
Focus: Intestinal 3D-organoids
Ina Hohensee, Postdoc
Focus: BMBF cooperations

What are the pharmacological properties of foods?

 
What are the pharmacological properties of foods?
Lab for Pharmaconutrition

Our Mission Statement

Our mission is the optimal combination of drug therapies with dietary interventions. Thus, we are creating a multidisciplinary preventive and therapeutical approach by connecting pharmacology, dietetics, and nutritional medicine.

Our approach

We are investigating the preventive and therapeutic potential of isolated food compounds. Beyond classical approaches focussing on micronutrients and phytochemicals, we are expanding this field of research to the health effects of dietary fibres, calorie restriction mimetics, and pre-, post-, and synbiotics.

We are working on utilizing food drug-interactions to improve the efficacy of drug therapies. Usually, food drug-interactions are perceived as hazardous and avoidable. Thinking out of the box and using data-based approaches and advanced literature mining algorithms, we are aiming to use food drug-interactions therapeutically and to detect and predict previously unexpected food drug-interactions in silico.

Furthermore, many adverse drug reactions are a consequence of side effects affecting the patient’s metabolism or micronutrient status. We are focussing on specific dietary interventions and supplements to reduce the adverse effects of medications. With this approach, we are improving both the patient’s quality of life and the efficacy of the drug therapy.

Since many drugs are activated and/or metabolized by commensal gut bacteria, the individual composition of the gut microbiota contributes to the individual drug response. Because the gut microbiota is influenced by our daily nutrition, dietary interventions may affect the efficacy of drugs.

Selected projects:

interactions of dietary supplements with oncological therapies

impact of taste and smell training on taste disorders during chemotherapy (TASTE-II)

nutrition counselling and dietary supplements in breast cancer patients

pharmacology of calorie restriction mimetics

choline intake in pregnant women

ultra-processed food in depression and multiple sclerosis

nutrition communication in social media

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Principle investigator

Martin Smollich

PhD

Head of Pharmaconutrition

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Martin Smollich

Head of student affairs & alumni network

Pharmacology & Nutritional Science

 
Research Focus:
Pharmaconutrition, functional food & dietary supplements clinical trials

Lab members

Chantal Jaspert, M.Sc. thesis
Focus: Ultra-processed food and depression
Pauline Krüger, M.Sc. thesis
Focus: Vegan nutrition in sports
Sandra Müller, M.Sc. thesis
Focus: Dietary inflammatory index and multiple sclerosis
Jasmin Ostermann, M.Sc. thesis
Focus: Drug interactions of dietary supplements in oncology
Friederike Schmidt, M.Sc. thesis
Focus: Bittering agents and appetite
Eliza Wietkamp, MD student
Focus: Pharmacokinetics of spermidine
Lea Tischner, M.Sc. student
Focus: Nutrition communication in acne patients
Merle Roeren, M.Sc. student
Focus: Choline intake in pregnant women
Noreen Neuwirth, M.Sc. thesis
Focus: Front-of-package nutrition labels & health-halo effects
Franziska Burkhardt, MD student
Focus: Dietary prehabilitation in gynecologic oncology

How does diet affect our immune response?

 
How does diet affect our immune response?
Lab for Immunology

Our Mission Statement

Understanding T and B cell and antibody immune responses in the context of allergies, autoimmunity, cancer, infection and vaccination and how diet influences these immune responses to contribute for better prevention and treatment strategies.

Our main focus is on the development, analysis and function of different antibody glycosylation patterns what is a suitable biomarker to characterize the inflammatory immune status of the current T and B cell immune response.

Our approach

We use different disease models and characterize patients to understand T and B cell and antibody immune responses in the context of allergies, autoimmunity, cancer, infection and vaccination.

Using flow cytometry, multi-omics including metabolomics and antibody glycosylation analysis, we characterize the T and B cell and antibody immune responses. In addition, we generate monoclonal antibodies with different types of glycosylation patterns to investigate their therapeutic potential on the different diseases.

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Principle investigator

Marc Ehlers

PhD

Head of Immunology

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Marc Ehlers

Head of glyco-Lab section

Immunology

 
 
Research Focus:
Nutritional immunology, B-cell biology, glycoanalysis

Lab members

Jana Sophia Buhre, PhD student
Focus: Diet and T and B cell responses; autoimmunity
Lara Dühring, PhD student
Focus: Allergies
Carsten Kern, PhD student
Focus: IgG glcan analysis
Vera von Kopylow, MD student
Focus: B cell responses; infection
Inga Künsting, MD student
Focus: Infection; vaccination; B cell responses
Selina Lehrian, PhD student
Focus: Vaccination against tumors and influence of diet
Anne Lixenfeld, MD student
Focus: Infection; vaccination; B cell responses
Hanna Lunding, PhD student
Focus: Vaccination; autoimmunity
Emily Martin, MD student
Focus: Infection; vaccination; B cell responses
Janina Petry, PhD
Focus: Allergies
Johann Rahmöller, MD
Focus: Allergies; infection; vaccination
Moritz Steinhaus, Physician and MD student
Focus: Diet and immune responses

Leadership team

Christian Sina

MD

Professor and Chair of Nutritional Medicine

Download CV

Christian Sina

Head of clinical trials & IBS program

Gastroenterology & Nutritional Medicine
 

Research Focus:

Luminal gastroenterology (IBS, IBD), personalized nutrition, digital therapeutics

Stefanie Derer

PhD

Head of Molecular Gastroenterology

Download CV

Stefanie Derer

Head of Lab, work safety officer

Molecular Gastroenterology

 
Research Focus:
IBD, CRC, basic science

Martin Smollich

PhD

Head of Pharmaconutrition

Download CV

Martin Smollich

Head of student affairs & alumni network

Pharmacology & Nutritional Science

 
Research Focus:
Pharmaconutrition, functional food & dietary supplements clinical trials

Marc Ehlers

PhD

Head of Immunology

Download CV

Marc Ehlers

Head of glyco-Lab section

Immunology

 
 
Research Focus:
Nutritional immunology, B-cell biology, glycoanalysis

Our study programs

Medical nutritional science (B. Sc.) & Nutritional Medicine (M. Sc.)

Every year we select 65 bachelor students and 40 master students to study at a vivid and internationally renowned life science university. From the very beginning, our students stay in direct exchange with their teachers who have received numerous awards for their excellent teaching.

At the interface between medicine and biological science, our students work in small groups. They learn how an idea becomes a research project and how a research project becomes a clinical application.

A strong local network, including affiliated research institutions and industry provides profound insights beyond the academic walls. An international network of universities and leading companies allows exchange with excellent scientists and key opinion leaders.

A vibrant and emerging start-up scene on campus also creates ideal conditions for the realization of innovative ideas.

Our facilities

Clinical Trial Unit

The INUM Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) provides an excellent infrastructure for both experimental proof of concept studies and early phase clinical trials.

We are specialized on clinical trials and nutritional intervention studies in the field of gastroenterology. Moreover, we conduct together with our partners on campus several trials under the german digital care act (digital health applications).

The CTU has an excellent team of GCP-trained physicians and study nurses. Together with experienced experts in food technology, regulatory affairs, food law, medical statistics, and artificial intelligence, we support the planning, execution, and presentation of preclinical studies and clinical trials. In compliance with international quality standards, we coordinate the scientific project management from your first idea to conceptional work, trial design, in vitro and in vivo-experiments, clinical studies, data analyses, upscaling and productization. Our customers include international food companies, small and medium-sized enterprises, start-ups and clinical researchers from academia with whom we cooperate, e.g. in national and international third-party funding networks.

Compound Validation Platform

The core facility “Compound Validation Platform” provides a broad spectrum of state-of-the art techniques to screen modes of actions of distinct compounds on intestinal epithelial cell function in mouse models, 2D-cell culture or in 3D-organoid cultures.

For this purpose, the core facility comprises a well-equipped immunohistochemistry and microscopy unit, a small animal endoscopy unit, a multi-color panel (< 14) analyzing flow cytometer, quantitative PCR cycler, a multi-mode microplate reader including kinetic metabolic analyses as well as an EVOM3 plus EndOhm-12G unit to measure trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER).

Microbiomics Plattform

A healthy intestinal microbiome is the prerequisite for our health. Dysfunctions of the intestinal microbiome caused by modern lifestyle, including western diet, medications and physical inactivity are suspected to cause numerous metabolic, immunological and oncological diseases.

The Microbiomics research group focuses on the investigation of the impact of a dysfunctional microbiome in the context of chronic inflammatory and metabolic diseases. Furthermore, we research on the basics of targeted and dietary modulation of the microbiome in order to specifically prevent and treat chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.

Our core technology is the bioinformatic analysis of complex and multidimensional data including metagenomics and metabolomics data.

Metabolomics

Together with the Institute of Chemistry and Metabolomics at the University of Lübeck, INUM has been operating an NMR metabolomics platform since 2018.

The platform maintains 2 x 600 mHz NMR metabolomics instruments (IvDR capable) and a 400 mHz NMR food screener. The NMR platform is complemented by the latest spectronomic techniques (including LC-MS), so that a wide range of metabolomic experiments can be covered, from biomarker research, to cell biological questions, to food analysis.

Glycoanalysis

Performing analysis of N-glycans attached to proteins for understanding the development and function of distinct glycan patterns in particular of (IgG) antibodies.

We use different techniques (HPLC, LC-MS) to analysis glycans and glycopeptides.

Supporters

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Fresenius Kabi Roggenbruck-Stiftung Damp Stiftung