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Project title:
Identifying the contribution of intestinal dysbiosis to Faroese IBD Risk

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Project manager:
Amanda Gratton Vang

Heilsu- og Sjúkrarøkt á Fróðskaparsetrinum

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Project description:
Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD) is a group of chronic inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that effects over 3 million peaple in Europa alone and plaves a high burden on societies and publicly funded health care systems like the Faroese. The underlying etiopathogenic factor(s) for IBD remain unclear, but it is generally accepted that IBD results from a complex relationship between genetic susceptibility, environment factors and intestinal microbiota. However, host genetics only explains a small fraction of disease heritability. There is a growing consensus that dysbiosis, especially a reduction in the diversity of the stool microbiome, is a hallmark of IBD. The prevalence of IBD on the Faroe Islands is the highest in the world (3-4 times higher than in other high-risk areas in North America and Europe) and the incidence rate has increased immensely over the last 20 years. The risk of developing IBD in Faroese individuals that move to Denmark in higher than native Danish people at arrival bit decreases over time, strongly suggesting the impact of environmental factors in the pathogenesis of IBD. Despite these unique features of the Faroese population and almost 1% of the population being affected by these diseases to date there has been limited focus on investigating the underlying reasons or the individual risk profiles of Faroese inhabitants. Such an effort will potentially enable personalized risk managment and ultimately even prevention of disease. This study will focus on the microbes found in stool samples from the Faroese IBD cohort and healthy controls in order to further understand the causal factor driving the high rate of IBD on the Faroe Islands. This is a crucial step in addressing an issue of utmost importance for the Faroese community. Research Question: Dysbiosis is considered a hallmark of IBD, however reports on specific taxa and associate with disease states vary. What characterizes dysbiosis in Faroese IBD patients? Aim: We will use a 16s rRNA sequencing approach in an exploratory study to investigate stool community composition in samples donated by Faroese IBD patients and Faroese healthy controls. Our primary outcomes will be principle component analysis of abundance and diversity measurments.

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