Belgium 2023 Belgium Grant Winner


Gut Microbiota in Human Health and Diseases


Dr. Charysse Vandendriessche

Dr. Charysse Vandendriessche
Department of Biomedical Molecular Biology
Ghent University

Bacterial extracellular vesicles as biomarker for Parkinson's disease


What are the implications of your research proposal in the microbiome field for human health?

Consistent and early changes in microbiota composition have been reported in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. These changes in microbiota composition are hypothesized to be reflected in extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by these bacteria (i.e. bacterial EVs (bEVs)), making bEVs extremely interesting from a biomarker perspective. Currently, the diagnosis of PD is based on meticulous neurological examination by experienced clinicians. However, these clinical symptoms only arise after considerable and irreversible neuronal damage has already occurred4. This underlines the pressing need of finding biomarkers that can be isolated from easily accessible biofluids collected via non-invasive procedures. These biomarkers would have an impact on several levels:

  1. aiding (differential) disease diagnosis,
  2. monitoring disease,
  3. follow- up treatment response 
  4. optimization of clinical trial design.

Hereby, the first three points will greatly benefit disease management whereas the latter point will aid the development of novel treatment strategies.