This past June, on 27, 28 and 29, three of the PhD students attended virtually the 8th International Human Microbiome Consortium Congress 2021 (IHMC), in order to present the advances in their respective research topics, and above all to continue learning from other fellow researchers.

Clara Bullich made her debut with an oral presentation on a specific strain of Holdemanella biformis, an intestinal bacterium isolated in Prof. Yolanda Sanz’s laboratory. The potential of this bacterium as a “new generation” probiotic in the context of obesity and type II diabetes is considerable. Specifically, we have demonstrated its ability to regulate glucose homeostasis by enhancing GLP-1 signaling, a gastrointestinal hormone secreted in response to interactions between the gut microbiota and dietary nutrients. In addition, Clara had the opportunity to present another of her works in poster format on the intestinal bacterium Phascolarctobacterium faecium, which provides resistance to obesity through the reduction of intake and intestinal inflammation that characterizes this metabolic disorder.

Rebeca Liébana and Gara Molina showed the advances of their research through the presentation of two posters. Rebeca presented her study on the anti-obesogenic properties of a new garlic-derived prebiotic compound, propyl-propane-thiosulfinate, in the context of diet-induced obesity. Specifically, it has been shown that the compound is able to slow down weight gain and adiposity in a dose-dependent manner. These effects are mainly attributed to the compound’s high thermogenic and anti-inflammatory potential, as well as its ability to improve glucose tolerance and maintain intestinal homeostasis, which are altered due to the consumption of a high-calorie diet.

On the other hand, Gara presented the poster entitled “Christensenella minuta improves neurochemical and behavioral alterations in an animal model of chronic social stress”, in which he showed new results on the role of the intestinal microbiota in an animal model of chronic social stress. Specifically, it has been shown that modulation of the microbiota of mice exposed to chronic social stress with a gut bacterium called Christensenella minuta improves resilience, as well as depressive and anxiogenic behavior, modulates blood levels of corticosterone, dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin and improves the anti-inflammatory response.