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On Sabbatical at APC – Professor Ian Sanderson

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Ian Sanderson came to the APC Microbiome Institute last autumn from Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust for a period of sabbatical research.  Ian is a paediatric gastroenterologist, and for 15 years, has led a large department in the research and treatment of patients with diseases of the intestine and liver.  He and his colleagues, serve a population of around 11m people in the greater London area.  While this department is internationally recognised in many areas, he says it does not have a research programme on how bacteria in the intestine affect disease so he approached Fergus Shanahan to request a sabbatical opportunity at the APC Microbiome Institute. Ian also has a faculty position at Harvard Medical School where he was introduced to the APC Microbiome Institute when he heard Paul O’Toole give an impressive lecture on APC research. He believes much can be gained by linking the excellence of the microbiome at the APC and the population base in London.

Ian’s specific projects examine: (i) how a protein that signals the presence of bacteria on the surface of the intestine actually affects bacterial populations; (ii) how bacteria in the intestine of children and adults with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are affected by oral iron treatment [a common medication in this group of patients]; (iii) whether extra exercise in children with IBD might alter their bacterial populations to reduce the levels of fatigue that they suffer.

“I am learning a huge amount at APC, both from structured meetings and from informal discussions with individual researchers, who have been very generous with their time. Everyone has been very welcoming; and I am very grateful for this opportunity. It has been a wonderful experience for my wife and I to spend time in Ireland, and we will miss it when we return to London in the summer.”