The recently formed Nebraska Food for Health Center at the University of Nebraska will collaborate with a pharmaceutical company to study how the trillions of microorganisms colonizing the human gut could offset the onset of metabolism-related disease.
Amanda Ramer-Tait, the Harold and Esther Edgerton Assistant Professor of food science and technology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will lead the university’s collaboration with Ritter Pharmaceuticals. Ritter will provide the university with a compound, RP-G28, that has shown potential for alleviating symptoms of lactose intolerance.
The compound belongs to a class of non-digestible carbohydrates – so-called prebiotics – that feed and stimulate growth of the gut-residing bacteria known as probiotics.
Alongside former Nebraska researcher Jens Walter, Ramer-Tait’s team will investigate whether RP-G28’s influence on gut bacteria could also help combat metabolic syndrome – a group of metabolism-linked factors that elevate the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other health problems.
“We are grateful to Ritter Pharmaceuticals for providing RP-G28 so we can study how manipulation of the microbiome may impact metabolic syndrome,” Ramer-Tait said. “There is great potential to take prebiotic-based gut microbiota modulators and explore how they may help improve human health.”
The Nebraska Food for Health Center, launched in 2016, is a more than $40 million initiative to improve the lives of people around the world. The multidisciplinary center brings together strengths in agriculture and medicine from throughout the university system. It helps develop hybrid crops and foods to improve the quality of life of those affected by critical diseases including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancers, inflammatory bowel disease and mental disorders.