Gut microbiome project

Gut microbiota and metagenomics may play a role in development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Gut microflora is population specific, and the Asian diabetic phenotype is unique. It is also been noted that consumption of white rice, an Asian staple, has also been shown to increase T2DM risk. In this project, we are testing the hypothesis that gut microbiota composition and diversity partly determines the glycemic and insulin responses of Asian individuals to oral carbohydrate load. We aim to study the relationship between stool microbiota and metabolites with glycemic and insulin responses to Jasmine rice (high G) and Basmati rice (low GI).
Our secondary aim is to establish the differences in stool microbiota composition and diversity, and their contribution to insulin responses between the three major ethnic groups (Chinese, Malays, Indians), which may account for the known differences in insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular risks. We are performing microbiota identification and metabolite profiling/analysis on the fecal samples of human subjects of above ethnicity and will correlate it with the glycemic and insulin responses. This study will provide impetus for gut microflora manipulation and development of designer probiotics as therapeutic modalities for better prevention and treatment in our "war on diabetes".

Plant root associated microbiomes

With increasing population and reducing land available for farming, novel out-of-box solutions become critical that allow higher yields in the farms. Microbial communities associated with the rhizosphere region of root have been found to be naturally enriched in beneficial microbes that boost plant growth. This project aims to characterize and establish beneficial microbials cultures for plants to improve the plant growth. .
For this we have established methods to isolate and culture the microbes from rhizosphere region. A plant growth assay has been developed to observe the influence of these microbes on plant growth. We will be culturing individual species from the isolated meta-community and reconstitute them with different composition to test and select the community that gives best results for different scenarios. .