Overview

Canada has amongst the highest rates of immune-mediated diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, in the world. The vast majority of these diseases have no known cure. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies that improve clinical outcomes in these patient groups are urgently needed. Additionally, there are large differences between patients in response to various medical and dietary therapies, which challenges a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach to clinical care.

My research focuses on expanding our knowledge of host-immune-microbe interactions, with a specific focus on identifying host (i.e., diet) and microbial factors involved in different responses to medical and dietary therapies. By better understanding individualized response to treatments, we can move towards developing and using personalized therapeutic programs to improve patient outcomes.

We use various digital health technologies and ‘multi-omics’ techniques (i.e., metagenomics, metabolomics, metaproteomics) to explore the role that dietary intakes and the microbes residing in the gastrointestinal tract play in changing the response to therapy.

Publications

Gut microbiome and dietary fibre intake strongly associate with IgG function and maturation following SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination
Gut
Genelle Rose Lunken and Liam Golding and Alana Schick and Abdelilah Majdoubi and Pascal M Lavoie and Bruce Andrew Vallance
DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2022-328556
01/2024

Gut microbiome-associated predictors as biomarkers of response to advanced therapies in inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review
Gut Microbes
Susanna Meade and Jeremy Liu Chen Kiow and Cristian Massaro and Gurpreet Kaur and Elizabeth Squirell and Brian Bressler and Genelle Lunken
DOI: 10.1080/19490976.2023.2287073
12/2023

Highly Sensitive, Flow Cytometry-Based Measurement of Intestinal Permeability in Models of Experimental Colitis
Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Tsai, K. and Ma, C. and Han, X. and Allaire, J. and Healey, G.R. and Crowley, S.M. and Yu, H. and Jacobson, K. and Xia, L. and Priatel, J.J. and Vallance, B.A.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2022.10.004
2023

Variability in mRNA SARS-CoV-2 BNT162b2 vaccine immunogenicity is associated with differences in the gut microbiome and habitual dietary fibre intake
Genelle R. Healey and Liam Golding and Alana Schick and Abdelilah Majdoubi and Pascal M. Lavoie and Bruce A. Vallance
DOI: 10.1101/2022.08.24.22279143
08/2022

AN INULIN-TYPE FRUCTAN ENRICHED EXCLUSIVE ENTERAL NUTRITION FORMULA SUPPRESSES COLITIS THROUGH GUT MICROBIOME MODULATION AND PROMOTING EXPANSION OF ANTI-INFLAMMATORY T CELL SUBSETS
Genelle R. Healey and Kevin Tsai and Daniel J. Lisko and Laura Cook and Bruce A. Vallance and Kevan Jacobson
DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.02.429403
02/2021

Therapeutic advances in gut microbiome modulation in patients with inflammatory bowel disease from pediatrics to adulthood
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Eindor-Abarbanel, A. and Healey, G.R. and Jacobson, K.
DOI: 10.3390/ijms222212506
2021

An inulin-type fructan enriched exclusive enteral nutrition formula modulates the gut microbiome and promotes expansion of anti-inflammatory T cell subsets to suppress colitis
Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology
2021

Prebiotic Enriched Exclusive Enteral Nutrition Suppresses Colitis via Gut Microbiome Modulation and Expansion of Anti-inflammatory T Cells in a Mouse Model of Colitis
Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Healey, G.R. and Tsai, K. and Schick, A. and Lisko, D.J. and Cook, L. and Vallance, B.A. and Jacobson, K.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2021.06.011
2021

Fiber and Prebiotic Interventions in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease: What Role Does the Gut Microbiome Play?
Nutrients
Genelle R. Healey and Larissa S. Celiberto and Soo Min Lee and Kevan Jacobson
DOI: 10.3390/nu12103204
10/2020

Genomic insights from Monoglobus pectinilyticus: a pectin-degrading specialist bacterium in the human colon
ISME
DOI: 10.1038/s41396-019-0363-6
02/2019

Habitual dietary fibre intake influences gut microbiota response to an inulin-type fructan prebiotic: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over, human intervention study
British Journal of Nutrition
Genelle Healey and Rinki Murphy and Christine Butts and Louise Brough and Kevin Whelan and Jane Coad
DOI: 10.1017/S0007114517003440
01/2018

Inflammatory bowel disease and immunonutrition: novel therapeutic approaches through modulation of diet and the gut microbiome
Immunology
Celiberto, L.S. and Graef, F.A. and Healey, G.R. and Bosman, E.S. and Jacobson, K. and Sly, L.M. and Vallance, B.A.
DOI: 10.1111/imm.12939
2018

Interindividual variability in gut microbiota and host response to dietary interventions
Nutrition Reviews
Healey, G.R. and Murphy, R. and Brough, L. and Butts, C.A. and Coad, J.
DOI: 10.1093/nutrit/nux062
2017

Variability in gut microbiota response to an inulin-type fructan prebiotic within an in vitro three-stage continuous colonic model system
Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibre
DOI: 10.1016/j.bcdf.2017.07.001
2017

Validity and Reproducibility of a Habitual Dietary Fibre Intake Short Food Frequency Questionnaire
Nutrients
DOI: 10.3390/nu8090558
09/2016

Influence of habitual dietary fibre intake on the responsiveness of the gut microbiota to a prebiotic: Protocol for a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over, single-centre study
BMJ Open
Healey, G. and Brough, L. and Butts, C. and Murphy, R. and Whelan, K. and Coad, J.
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012504
2016

The link between breast milk, infant faecal and maternal faecal microbiota.
Proceedings of the Nutrition Society of Australia
2015

Research

The effect of dietary modulation on fungal and viral communities in the gastrointestinal tract
We plan to determine whether various dietary components, including food additives, dietary fibres, and polyphenolics, impact the composition and functional capacity of the virome (viruses) and mycobiome (fungi) in healthy individuals and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. Diet has a profound impact on the gut microbiome (collection of microorganisms in the gut), however, the vast majority of research to date only focuses on the modulating capacity of diet in the context of the gut bacteria. Additional research is therefore needed to elucidate the impact diet has on shaping the viral and fungal communities within the gut. This is particularly important as recent research has established that the virome and mycobiome are likely implicated in the development and management of immune-mediated conditions such as IBD.

Therapeutic efficacy and gut microbiome modulating capacity of a fibre-enriched exclusive enteral nutrition strategy in pediatric Crohn’s disease
In this translational research project we aim to conduct a randomized controlled trial to determine whether enriching exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) with fibre will prevent gut microbiome dysbiosis (imbalance) and enhance disease outcomes compared to a fibre-free EEN formula. Additionally, we will determine whether there is a gut microbiome signature, and/or specific dietary components associated with EEN response and/or sustained remission.

Grants

Weston Family Microbiome Initative – “Effect of supplemented toddler diets on the gut microbiome and its association with neurodevelopmental outcomes” – $300,000 over 2 years – Co-investigator (2022-2024)

Weston Family Microbiome Initative – “Characterizing the gut microbiome in patients during COVID-19 infection” – $125,700 over 2 years – Co-investigator (2020-2022)

Weston Family Microbiome Initative – “Leveraging the gut microbiota in treatment refractory epilepsy” – $150,000 over 2 years – Co-investigator (2019-2021)

Honours & Awards

Michael Smith Health Research BC Trainee Award – 2018-2022

People’s Choice Best Poster Award – IMPACTT Canadian Microbiome Symposium – 2021

Best Presentation Award – Canadian Digestive Disease Week – 2021

Trainee Prize for Abstract Submission – Canadian Digestive Disease Week – 2021

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment PhD Scholarship – New Zealand Government – 2014-2017

Research Group Members

Areej Altaf, Research volunteer
Cristian Massaro, Masters student