Quadram Institute Bioscience News Opening fully in mid-2018, the Quadram Institute will be at the forefront of a new era of food and health research, working at the interface between food science, gut biology and health. It will develop solutions to worldwide challenges in food-related disease and human health, with a lifelong focus from establishing optimum health at birth through to ensuring we age healthily. The Quadram Institute is assembling interdisciplinary teams and working with appropriate international organisations to address these major issues. Scientists and clinicians working together under one roof will deliver innovative new healthcare solutions. Based on the Norwich Research Park, it is a partnership between Quadram Institute Bioscience, the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. This brings together excellent research, teaching and patient care, synergising collaborations between the 3,000 scientists and clinicians working in six world class organisations clustered on the Norwich Research Park. This concentration of interdisciplinary expertise is needed if we are to solve complex health problems facing society. The Quadram Institute, supported by the charity Invest in ME Research, has established a programme of biomedical research addressing the complex causes of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). Our ME studies are led by Professor Simon Carding, who leads QI’s Gut Microbes and Health research programme, and is also Professor of Mucosal Immunology at the Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia. The research builds on recent evidence that ME/CFS has a basis in the immune system. Our focus is on the interactions between the immune system and the microbiota in the gut. Many ME Invest in ME research (Charity Nr. 1153730) sufferers also have gut-related conditions and several studies have recorded altered microbiota communities. The gut is a major focal point of the body’s immune system. It must deal with a constant barrage of potentially harmful microbes taken into the body with our food, whilst also supporting a large community of microbes that benefit health – the microbiota. Part of the Quadram Institute’s mission is to understand how this balance is maintained, and how changes in this balance lead to diseased states. One aspect of this includes the study of what happens when the lining of the gut, the intestinal epithelium, fails to act as a barrier and members of the microbiota are able to cross. This is known as leaky gut syndrome and may be important in a number of conditions, including ME/CFS, as it abnormally presents microbes to the immune system and potentially triggering an autoimmune response. With partners at University College London, we are looking at the nature of autoimmune reaction in patients with ME. An important aspect of our research into links between the microbiota and ME/CFS is to understand better the role played by viruses in the microbiota. Much research has focused on the bacterial populations, but the microbiota contains many other organisms, including fungi and viruses, as well as bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria). Viruses in particular are of interest in the study of ME/CFS as there has been evidence suggesting a viral role in triggering ME/CFS without being able to identify specific causes. Working with colleagues at UEA, we are looking to fully study the viral component of the microbiome, the virome, and its relevance to ME/CFS. Much of our work to date has been supported by the charity, Invest in ME Research, who, as well as raising funds for biomedical research are working to raise awareness of the condition and supporting collaborative efforts across the EU to tackle ME. One target is to establish a Centre for ME Research, building on excellent biomedical research, to act as a hub for European research and treatment of ME. www.investinme.org Page 21 of 56

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