Christian Sina, Professor of Nutritional Medicine & Chair, The INUM
What are the determinants of our individual response to food?
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.
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.
IBS Study cohort
What are the molecular targets for effective dietary interventions?
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.
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.
B-Cell Function in IBD
Complement System in Cancer & Inflammation
Intestinal Aging and Colorectal Carcinogenesis
What are the pharmacological properties of foods?
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.
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.
Interactions of dietary supplements with oncological therapies
Evidence-based use of dietary supplements
Nutrition counselling and dietary supplements in cancer patients
Pharmacology of calorie restriction mimetics
Clinical trials with functional foods & dietary supplements
Plant-based meat & dairy alternatives
Public health nutrition & policy communication
How does diet affect our immune response?
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.