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Gut and host health

What we do

We conduct basic and applied research concerning the influence of dietary components and additives (carbohydrates, proteins, fatty acids, minerals, bioactive compounds) on the gut, microbiota and the local and systemic immunity to support animal health and disease resilience.

We contribute to the Green Transition by using One Health principles on reducing the use of antimicrobials, reducing of the diet-related environmental and climate footprints by modulating the gut microbiota as well as performing research within cellular agriculture by exploring e.g. animal-based cell models for milk production.

For our research, we develop and implement in vitro diet, digesta, cell, tissue and organ models, use individual and group of animals for studying research questions, and utilize state-of-the-art analytical techniques and digital data and bioinformatics tools for identifying environmental-, microbial- and host factors influencing the animal health and environmental impact.

Our research focuses on farm animals but has relevance also for companion animals and humans.

Our primary focus areas

  • Nutrients as preventive tools to modulate gut resilience against infectious diseases thereby reducing the use of antibiotics and the development of antimicrobial resistance in animal production with a One-Health perspectives
  • Systemic host-microbiota interactions (microbiota-gut-brain axis; microbiota-gut-lung axis) and their modulation to support animal health and welfare
  • The local interplay between nutrients, microbiota, gut mucosa and immunity
  • Gut maturation and its modulation to influence animal health during different life stages
  • Infection biology and immune regulation to develop robust animals and vaccination strategies
  • Gastrointestinal and metabolic health aspects of molecular nutrition and bio-active components
  • Gut microbiota composition, activity and modulation to reduce the environmental and climate impact from ruminant and non-ruminant livestock animals
  • Study of host-pathogen interactions using animal challenge models for infectious diseases
  • State-of-the-art analytical techniques, omics techniques and bioinformatic tools to identify biomarkers for health and disease
  • In vitro models (diet, digesta, tissue and cells) implementations to comply with the Three Rs principles
  • Applied cell biology for nutritional and health beneficial effects of bioactive compounds in animal and human foods
  • Cellular agriculture for sustainable milk production (In vitro milk)

Head of research unit

Knud Erik Bach Knudsen

Professor - Section manager Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences - ANIS Gut and host health (GHH)