ManGO: Manchester Global Omics Initiative for Nutritional Health

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester

Abstract

Nutrition underpins many of the health challenges faced by low and middle income countries. Historically, under-nutrition has been the dominant problem, with clear impacts, e.g. on growth and development, and on susceptibility to infection and responses to therapy. As well as health problems caused by under-nutrition, developing countries are facing new nutritional
challenges due to globalisation and cultural change, facing the so-called "nutrition-transition". This emerging situation is compounded by inequalities in socioeconomic factors, by climate change, by food insecurity and by variable access to health provision. The potential range of clinical areas in which nutrition affects human welfare is extremely wide.
Coupling cutting-edge analytical and biological sciences and computational analysis of data will lead to a new
understanding of molecular nutrition and its impacts on health and disease in LMICs, especially by integrating these approaches.
This pump-priming project builds upon existing strengths in research groups at the University of Manchester, and will develop strong links to partners in India and South Africa connecting key aspects of nutritional and clinical sciences. We will advance new areas where nutritional research can play a major future role in these settings, principally by establishing
a closer integration of health data sciences, and cutting-edge laboratory based approaches to research coupled to sophisticated computational techniques. Our aim is in building close collaborations that create new synergies and qualitatively better research environments for the next phase.
The areas we will explore are of particular importance to local population health:
Nutrition in pregnancy and early development; childhood growth
Nutrition and infectious disease
Nutrition and emerging non-communicable diseases e.g. allergy
The proposed 12-month developmental plan will focus on extending existing networks and creating new ones. Visits will be made between the partners, along with a series of workshops and other events to define future research opportunities and the key research questions to be addressed.
We will also undertake pilot research work (initially focussed on nutritional factors in childhood development and in tuberculosis) to develop the necessary tools and to ensure that the proposed topics are feasible for future major grant applications, especially in the 'Global Challenges Research Fund' arena.
The expected impact will be the development and conduct of world class collaborative research in nutrition and health, building research capacity in our partner institutions. We plan to follow on by successful research funding bids in basic science and clinical aspects of human nutrition in health and disease.

Technical Summary

This project links research groups at the University of Manchester to LMIC partners in India and South Africa, connecting key aspects of nutritional and clinical sciences. We will advance new areas where nutritional research can play a major future role in LMIC settings, aiming to establishing a close integration of the health informatics, omic technologies and systems biology approaches that are specific strengths in Manchester.
The proposed 12-month developmental plan will focus on extending existing networks and creating new ones, and on defining and refining the key research questions to be addressed. We will also undertake pilot work to develop the necessary tools and to ensure that the proposed topics are feasible for future major grant applications, especially in the 'Global Challenges Research Fund' arena.
Clinical areas of relevance
The potential range of relevant clinical areas is extremely wide; therefore, an initial set of focus themes with major LMIC health impacts has been identified, based on the expertise of our international collaborative group and the clinical issues confronted in LMICs. These are:
-Nutrition in pregnancy and early development; childhood growth
-Nutrition and infectious disease
-Nutrition and emerging non-communicable diseases
Activities and Deliverables
As this is a 12-month developmental application, undertaking significant hypothesis testing or interventional studies is not intended. The proposal is to (a) to undertake exchange and networking/training events with international colleagues; (b) to
develop the integrated methodologies needed for nutritional and dietary assessment in global settings, alongside compatible platforms for health and bioinformatic datasets; (c) undertake small proof-of-concept studies to test that the interactions and technological applications will succeed logistically and technically; and (d) generate pilot data in each of
these areas to underpin next-phase joint grant applications.

Publications

10 25 50