This project aims to synergises with the recently started NWO project Interactions between gut microbes and gut defence in a human gut on a chip (Dr. Ir. Hans Bouwmeester). Development of safe and effective drugs and healthy foods are currently hampered by the poor predictive power of existing preclinical animal models and in food by the high cost and ethical dilemmas of human panel and cohort studies. Organs on a chip represent an exciting new development capable of recapitulating organ level functions with human (or animal) tissues circumventing these problems, and can be used for screening purposes, personalized nutrition and medicine.
In Wageningen, the gut is a core research theme on which the work of many diverse science units converges, explaining the participation of 3 different groups in this proposal, and the strong interest of several more. In our gut on a chip we do not focus on digestion and nutrition itself but on the molecular aspects of satiety and immunity signalling by the gut. Our model does not incorporate the action of digestive enzymes on bulk carbohydrates, proteins and fats and the nutritional aspects, but rather describes the finer roles of components that specifically induce satiety and immunity.