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Main research

The human intestinal tract is inhabited by 10-100 trillion microbes consisting of thousands of different species, collectively called the microbiota. The microbial community has an immense capacity to affect host biology and is fundamental to many processes, including the development of our immune system, processing of otherwise indigestible dietary polysaccharides, and vitamin and hormone production. The gut microbiome (collection of all microbial genes) encodes 150-fold more genes than the human genome and provides us with numerous complementary functions and activities.

The overall aim of our research is to clarify the role of bacteria associated with the human body in the development of metabolic diseases, with particular emphasis on obesity, diabetes and atherosclerosis. We use a translational approach that involves both human cohorts − to identify differences in microbial communities associated with the body in disease states − and germ-free mice − to investigate the underlying molecular mechanisms promoted by specific bacteria.

In a recently published study, we determined transcriptional responses to microbiota along the length of the intestine (Larsson et al. Gut 2012; 61:1124-31). The data are accessible at http://microbiota.wall.gu.se.


Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron in association with food particle in the mouse gut.

Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron in association with food particle in the mouse gut.

Contact Information

Fredrik Bäckhed

Wallenberg Laboratory, SU/Sahlgrenska, SE-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden

Visiting Address:
Bruna Stråket 16

+46 (0)31-342 7833

+46 (0)31-82 37 62

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