UCC researcher wins international research grant for microbiome study

Dr Niall Hyland, UCC
Dr Niall Hyland, UCC

Dr Nial Hyland beats competition from 200 applicants

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30 August 2019 | 0

An Irish researcher has been awarded a significant global grant to advance insight into how our gut bacteria affects medications for depression and anxiety.

Dr Niall Hyland from SFI research centre APC Microbiome at University College Cork was awarded the €100,000 global grant by Nature Research and Yakult, beating a field of nearly 200 international applicants.

Individuals respond to medications in different ways and it appears that each person’s microbiome may play a significant role in how drugs are absorbed and metabolized by the body. Recent research has shown that a person’s microbiome affects her/his response to chemotherapy and other medications such as for Parkinson’s Disease.

Dr Hyland is particularly interested in how the microbiome affects the ability of individuals to respond to anti-depressants and anti-psychotics.

“If depression has a knock-on effect on the microbiome and can generate gut-related disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), how might depression affect the ability to process anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs?” said Dr Hyland.

“We will analyse the gut bacterial communities and enzymatic activities in patients with depression prior to treatment with medication and then analyse drug responses.

“We plan to use the pharmacokinetic results to build a computer model to predict how patients might respond to specific drugs based on the composition of their microbiomes. We hope that it will enhance the efficacy of treatment and increase patient compliance.”

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