Dr David Seki

Post Doctoral Scientist

Deciphering Bifidobacterium-diet-immune interactions in global infant populations

During my PhD at the University of Vienna, I established a large cohort of extremely premature infants at the local hospital. These infants are very vulnerable and live in intensive care units during their first months of life. Previous research has observed, that somehow inflammations of gastrointestinal origin seemed to be linked to severe aggravations of brain damage, but the underlying mechanisms were unknown. To find out why, I characterized T cell ontogeny in peripheral blood samples of these infants, monitored their neurophysiological development, and profiled microbiota and their metabolites in stool samples. Via integrative analysis of microbiome, immunological, clinical, and neurophysiological data I identified candidate biomarkers for aberrant development of the gut microbiota-immune-brain axis that are associated with the progression and severity of brain injury. 

I have joined the group of Lindsay Hall as a postdoctoral researcher in the year 2021. Here, I will ask what dietary mechanisms influence the initial establishment and succession of microbiota during early-life, and how this initial priming influences immunological homeostasis later in life.