Research Theme 1
Targeting host receptors with postbiotics in colorectal cancer: A microbiota-based precision adjuvant therapy
The standard treatments for colorectal cancer (CRC), mainly surgical resection and chemotherapy, are effective to remove the lesion but cannot adjust the composition of gut microbiota. On the other hand, it is well known that microbiomes located in the gastrointestinal lumen impact the development and progression of CRC. The resilient disease-associated microbiota, which may stay in the gut of CRC patients even after treatment, carries a significant risk for recurrence and distal metastasis of the tumor. The unmet need is to develop a new type of microbiota-based precision adjuvant therapy that enhances the efficacy of standard CRC treatment, thus preventing disease relapse. Postbiotics, which are the effective bioactive molecules derived from microbiomes, may promote or suppress oncogenesis through engagement of host receptors. The postbiotic-receptor interaction and downstream cellular responses are the underlying mechanism, which will be tackled by structural approach and signaling study. The mimicry of postbiotic that acts as either an analog or an antagonist for the corresponding host receptor is the deliverable.
Research Theme 2
Healthy heart for healthy aging by gut microbiota: decoding the role of microbial metabolites in myocardial proteostasis
A hallmark of aging-affected heart is the accumulation of oxidized proteins in post-mitotic cardiomyocytes, leading to dysregulation of myocardial proteostasis. As the consequence, the aged heart is highly susceptible to stress, rendering the individual under a significant risk for developing cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). A key challenge in sustaining a healthy heart while aging is to facilitate degradation of cardiac oxidized proteins. For this, we look for effective gut microbial metabolites that regulate oxidative stress and proteolysis in cardiomyocytes. Our goal is to elucidate the mechanism through which the metabolites communicate with the aging heart for proper control of proteostasis. Upon validation, the selected metabolites and their derivatives are the candidates to promote healthy aging.