We manage our own Health and Early life Microbiota (HELMI) birth cohort and capitalize our research on early life microbiota development on samples and metadata accumulated in this cohort since 2016. We collaborate with nutritionists and medical doctors to study dietary effects on the gut microbiota especially in relation to metabolic diseases as well as microbiome-based stratification to explain and predict individual responses to dietary interventions and biological drugs. Finally, together with specialists on gynecology and obstetrics we are investigating how the vaginal microbiota relates to lifestyle factors and clinical outcomes in women's health and reproduction.
Our central methodology involves generating high-throughput microbiome data with next generation sequencing (NGS) from well-characterized human cohorts in close collaboration with medical doctors who provide access to patient samples and clinical expertise. Immunological methods are used to study inflammation and immune activation in relation to microbiomes from various sample types. In vitro experiments using cell and bacterial cultures are employed for hypothesis testing. Most researchers in the group are involved in bioinformatic data analysis and integration of the different data sets (from microbiome, clinical, questionnaire and registry data as well as laboratory measurements).
We collaborate with several research groups around the world as well as clinical practitioners in the Helsinki University Hospital across the street.