Leading Australian universities will explore the ‘cognobiome’ of soldiers using Microba Life Sciences’ analysis platform to discover opportunities for improving cognitive and physiological performance.
In a collaborative project funded by the Next Generation Technologies Fund, researchers from the University of Newcastle and Queensland University of Technology will investigate the human, microbial and environmental interactions that affect cognitive performance, coined the ‘cognobiome’, by analysing the gut microbiome of soldiers using Microba’s technology.
With samples taken before, during, and after intensive training, the study will measure how the gut microbiome is impacted by environmental stressors experienced by soldiers, with the aim to identify microbial signatures that can be linked to cognitive performance outcomes.
Led by University of Newcastle researchers, world-renowned neurogastroenterologist, Distinguished Laureate Professor Nick Talley AC and Professor Simon Keely, and with the microbiome bioinformatics expertise of Professor Gene Tyson, Director of the Centre for Microbiome Research at the Queensland University of Technology, the team will investigate the results for intervention opportunities.
By leveraging Microba’s analysis platform, the researchers will have high-resolution metagenomic data to examine the composition and function of the microbiome, and accurately measure whether the impacts to the microbiome are linked with positive or negative effects on cognitive performance.
Once microbiome signatures are identified, their associations can be explored to identify lead species which can be used as the foundation of potential treatments to promote a microbiome that supports improved cognitive performance and increased resilience against extreme environmental pressures.
Associate Professor Lutz Krause, Chief Scientific Officer of Microba and an investigator of the project, explained that the comprehensive metagenomic data, combined with extensive measurements of participants’ environmental factors and other health markers, will generate a unique dataset to reveal new information about the gut-brain connection and leads for microbiome-derived treatments.
“This research represents an exciting opportunity to explore the intricacies of the microbiome’s link with the brain by using advanced analytical and machine learning methods to identify the key species that are driving this connection.”Lutz Krause, Chief Scientific Officer
“By bringing together expertise from a diverse range of disciplines, this project presents a significant advancement in understanding how critical the microbiome is in human health, and how it can be harnessed to improve outcomes across a range of applications,” he added.