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Gut Microbiota for Health Expert Panel

The Gut Microbiota for Health Expert Panel represents a group of multi-disciplinary members (including primary and secondary care clinicians, microbiologists, dietitians and research scientists) with expertise and interest in the gut microbiota and its role in health and disease. The Group is under the auspices of the British Society of Gastroenterology Research Committee.

The group was formed in 2013 and now includes over 50 members who meet twice a year, arrange meetings and workshops on key topics related to the microbiota and publish articles in high impact journals, as well as writing articles to enhance understanding with the public. As the Group has grown, it is now organised into Special Interest Groups (SIGs) but maintains the over-arching meetings to ensure continuity and sharing of expertise and interest.

The GMfH panel has achieved the following:

The goals of the group are: to increase awareness and understanding among clinicians of the gut microbiota and its impact on health; to be a ‘go-to’ address for clinicians (GPs, gastroenterologists, nurses and allied health professionals) for defining what is currently reliably known in this field; and to drive scientific and academic interest in the gut microbiota primarily in gastrointestinal and liver disease – although our SIGs also cover nutrition, the gut-brain axis and infectious disease. Our website lists links to up-to-date papers selected by the SIG as being particularly relevant and topical. Each SIG will take turns to post articles here with news of developments in this rapidly evolving field of biology.

In particular, the group aims to:

  • To map the science and reach consensus on what is known and what is not yet known
  • To develop guidelines to promote good practice
  • To draft consensus statements on areas of interest for UK GPs
  • To identify gaps in knowledge and research foci
  • To identify research and development areas in this field that would advance understanding and lead to patient benefit

Latest Update

I am honoured to take up the chair of this prestigious committee, which aims to promote the understanding (by researchers, clinicians, and the general public) of how the gut microbiota influences health and disease (see mission statement and objectives; British Society of Gastroenterology).

The success of faecal microbial transplantation (FMT) for Clostridioides difficile infection highlights the potential of antimicrobial therapies in future treatment of a range of gastrointestinal infectious and inflammatory conditions. However, before this potential can be harnessed, many challenges have to be overcome. It is currently unclear whether differences seen in microbial profiles associated with gut-related disorders are causal, as well as the diagnostic usefulness of these as biomarkers. Microbial biomarkers could be used to predict increased risk of adverse clinical outcome post-drug and/or post-surgery. The gut microbiota is also a reservoir of antibiotic resistance – a growing global public health concern.

Our recent achievements (please see the ‘Achievements’ section at the top) include hosting two workshops (FMT and the paediatric microbiota), contributing to NICE and BSG guidelines for FMT treatment of Clostridioides difficile, and the recent production of leaflets aimed at the general public and GPs, on commercial microbiome (poo) testing (short and long versions). One focus for the coming year, the overall outline of which is given below under the ‘Current Focus’ section, will be to review the methods and claims behind these tests, as well as defining standard methodology for clinical practice gut microbiome testing. Members of the panel also contributed to the recently published Microbiome Strategy Roadmap and a letter to Archives of Disease in Childhood, calling for clinical availability of next generation microbiome sequencing.

Further themes will include the influence of the gut microbiota on drug efficacy and antibiotic resistance, as well as the diagnostic (and treatment) potential of gut microbial biomarkers. We also aim to help establish the best advice for pre-surgery regimes and to provide more insight into the paediatric gut microbiome. We will continue to work on FMT protocols, for example to maintain safety with regard to SARS-CoV-2. We will also collaborate and advise on educational modules on the gut microbiome for GPs.

Over the next three years, we hope to continue to provide researchers and health professionals with up-to-date information on the microbiome and related antimicrobial therapeutic advances (see the ‘Special Interest Groups’ section below for key papers in different areas). We also hope to identify research needs, share research insights, and drive the eventual resumption of current non-COVID research. One future focus may be the relevance of the gut microbiota to COVID.

On behalf of all panel members (see a full list at the bottom of the page), I would like to thank Professor Julian Marchesi for his energy and vision in chairing the panel for the last three years. Dr Richard Hansen (the new vice chair) and I will endeavour to continue the successful output from this panel.

Dr Mona Bajaj-Elliott

Chair, Gut Microbiota for Health Expert Panel

February 2021

Charter

A cross disciplinary education & interest group under the auspices of the British Society of Gastroenterology (BSG Research Committee)

  • To help increase awareness and understanding among clinicians of the gut microbiota and its impact on health
  • To be a ‘go-to’ address for UK clinicians (GPs, gastroenterologists, nurses, and allied health professionals) for defining what is currently reliably known in this field
  • To drive scientific and clinical interest in the gut microbiota in gastrointestinal and liver disease

Current Members

Member Member
Mona Bajaj-Elliott (Chair; UCL Great Ormond Institute of Child Health) Nigel Klein (UCL Great Ormond Institute of Child Health)
Richard Hansen (Vice Chair; University of Glasgow) Darina Kohotouva (The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust)
Linda Thomas (Secretariat) Patricia Macnair (PCSG)
Dagmar Alber (UCL Great Ormond Institute of Child Health) Giles Major (University of Nottingham)
James Alexander (Imperial College London) Julian R. Marchesi (Chair Emeritus; Imperial College London)
Gregory Amos (NIBSC) Pamela McDonald-Kuhne (Durham University)
Ramesh Arasaradnam (University of Warwick) John McLaughlin (University of Manchester)
Qasim Aziz (Royal London Hospital) Blair Merrick (Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation)
Matthew Brookes (The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust) Ben Mullish (Imperial College London)
Emma Kerby-Evans (BSG) Ann Muls (The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust)
Phil Burnet (University of Oxford) Mohammed Nabil Quraishi (University of Birmingham)
Barry Campbell (University of Liverpool) Arjan Narbad (Institute of Food Research, Norwich)
Simon Carding (Institute for Food Research, Norwich) Sarah O’Brien (University of Liverpool)
Bernard Corfe (University of Sheffield) Vishal Patel (KCL Institute of Liver Studies)
Jamie Dalrymple (PCSG) Ian Rowland (formerly University of Reading)
Lindsey Edwards (King’s College London) Jonathan Segal (Imperial College London)
Ngozi Elumogo (Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals) Naveen Sharma (Heart of England NHS Foundation)
Ellen Fallows (Montgomery House Surgery, Bicester) Debbie Shawcross (King’s College London)
Andrew Flatt (Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth) Liz Sheridan (Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)
Konstantinos Gerasimidis (University of Glasgow) Jonathan Sutton (Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor)
Rohma Ghani (Imperial College London) Jonathan Swann (Imperial College London)
Simon Goldenberg (Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust) Julie Thompson (Salford Royal Hospital; Guts UK)
Julie Harrington (Guts UK) Manuela Volta (Guts UK)
Dean Harris (Swansea University) Kevin Whelan (King’s College London)
Ailsa Hart (Chair Emeritus; St Mark’s Hospital, Harrow) Leila White (Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust)
Peter Hawkey (University of Birmingham) Peter Whorwell (University of Manchester)
Tariq Iqbal (Chair Emeritus; University Hospital Birmingham) Horace Williams (Imperial College London)
Georgina Hold (University of Aberdeen) Charlotte Woodhouse (Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust)