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Microbiome Health Initiative

Do bacteria in our gut play a role in cardiometabolic disease?

Project data

Grant amount
DKK 150 million

The Microbiome Health Initiative is a research initiative that aims to establish a potential causal link between the gut microbiome – the combined genetic material of the communities of bacteria and other microbes in the human gut – and the development of cardiometabolic diseases (CMD) such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The goal is to generate knowledge that can lead to new prevention or treatment options for people living with, or at risk of, CMD. 

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has committed DKK 150 million (USD 22 million) for the first phase of the initiative, which is anchored at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), north of Copenhagen. Professor Fredrik Bäckhed from the University of Gothenburg has been employed part-time at DTU to lead the initiative, with Professor Tine Rask Licht from DTU National Food Institute as co-Director.  

The initiative also involves leading scientists at the University of Copenhagen, Amsterdam University Medical Centre, and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and clinicians at Odense University Hospital and Steno Diabetes Centre Copenhagen.

Research has already shown associations between several gut bacteria or metabolites – substances produced by microbes – and CMD. In Phase 1, the initiative will therefore focus on collaborative research projects that investigate the specific effects of these bacteria or metabolites and advance understanding on how microbiome interventions could reduce the risk of CMD or help manage it. This phase will run from 2024-2028.  

Phase 2, which is subject to approval following a mid-term evaluation of Phase 1, would run from 2026-2030. In this phase, the initiative would support human intervention studies and invest in infrastructure to support the development of microbes, microbial compounds, or targeted supplements for therapeutic purposes.  

Read more here.