WEHI Special Seminar hosted by Dr Lauren Howson
Olaf Perdijk PhD
Department of Immunology, Central Clinical School, Monash University
Harnessing the early-life gut microbiome to prevent atopic disease
Including Q&A session
Dr Olaf Perdijk is exploring mechanisms underlying host-microbe interactions in the gut and their impact on systemic metabolism and immunity. He obtained his PhD degree at the Wageningen University in 2018, the Netherlands, where he investigated how novel early-life ingredients derived from raw cow’s milk could be utilized to modulate immune responses in neonates. Since joining the Mucosal Immunology Research Group at Monash University in 2018, he has directed his efforts towards understanding the means of communication between gut microbes and the immune system in the context of allergic disease, such as atopic dermatitis and allergic asthma. A leading hypothesis in the field suggests that the gut microbiome can alter immune responses at distal sites through production of metabolites. In one arm of his research, he focusses on how this interplay can be exploited in early life to prevent atopic disease and childhood asthma. In another arm of research, he explores these host-microbe interactions in the context of the brain. Moreover, he is studying how a ketogenic diet modulates the gut-brain axis and protects from epilepsy in a model of Alzheimer’s disease. Understanding the intricate mechanisms by which host-microbe interactions in the gut modulate systemic immune responses and disease susceptibility is a challenging yet promising field. Even though this an area with a plethora of challenges, discoveries made in this space offer immense potential for utilizing microbes and metabolites as therapeutics.