Canada Excellence Research Chair in the Microbiome-Endocannabinoidome Axis in Metabolic Health
The Canada Excellence Research Chair in the Microbiome-Endocannabinoidome Axis in Metabolic Health is the first chair in the world dedicated to the integrated study of the intestinal microbiome and its impairments with a view to understanding its influence on the molecular mechanisms underlying obesity, as well as the development of Type 2 diabetes, cardiometabolic disease, and other associated disorders.
The chair's mission is to identify new therapeutic targets and design innovative medical and nutritional strategies to maintain health and prevent certain illnesses.
The Chair will study the mechanisms by which the intestinal microbiome and metabolic syndrome interact through the endocannabinoidome. The microbiome is the complex system comprising the intestinals microbial population as well as its dynamics, structure, and functions.
The endocannabinoidome is a network of chemical signals linked to the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating and stabilizing bodily functions. Since the intestinal microbiome is closely linked to diet, it is important to study how diet influences its structure and functions in order to understand how it influences cardiometabolic health. The Chair intends to deepen and expand knowledge on the subject by examining several questions simultaneously, including the following:
- Through what mechanisms does the dysregulation of the intestinal microbiome lead to obesity and the development of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other illnesses?
- Can interventions on nutrition, surgery, and behaviour modulate the intestinal microbiome to improve metabolic, gastrointestinal, and cardiac health, and if so, how?
- Where, when, and how does the intestinal microbiome affect the endocannabinoid system, and what are the consequences?
To answer these questions, Pr. Di Marzo will assemble a high-calibre research team at Université Laval to work closely with the International Joint Unit on chemical and biomolecular microbiome research and its impacts on metabolic health, which was recently created by Université Laval and Italy's National Research Council.
The creation of this Chair attests to the reputation for excellence of the scientific research teams at Université Laval and to 60 years of ongoing effort to improve population health. The research carried out by Vicenzo Di Marzo builds on the extensive expertise of various UL entities, including the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Food and Agriculture Science, the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Research Centre, renowned for its integrated studies into obesity and chronic social illness, and the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods, which is known for its multidisciplinary work on the effects of food on health and the prevention of diet-related chronic illnesses.
Collaboration with the Québec-Italy International Joint Unit will help researchers identify, develop, and formulate new drugs for metabolic health. This new Canada Excellence Research Chair joins 3 other cutting-edge CERC research programs in which Université Laval has been recognized as a leader in Canada:
These 4 CERCs contribute to the scientific program of Sentinel North. This unprecedented research program on the Canadian North led by Université Laval aims to provide a better understanding of humans, their environment, and the consequences of environmental changes on human health.