12 February 2016
A group of the most respected national and international scientists, working in the area of infant allergies, immunology and beneficial modulation of immune function by foods, met last week at the Malaghan Institute. They were here as part of the Strategic International Collaborative Research Programme (SICORP) Japan-New Zealand Joint Research. The programme, initiated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), is to investigate Functional foods. These innovative food products or ingredients provide added benefits to human health and wellbeing beyond basic nutrition.
Dr Liz Forbes-Blom, Head of Gut Immunology, is hosting their first New Zealand-based symposium.
"We think gut bacteria play a crucial role right from the very start of life; in developing strong immunity and lifelong health. My colleagues have a wide range of research expertise and being able to meet like this will accelerate and stimulate progress across the board through utilizing an interdisciplinary approach to our research," she says.
"Collectively we are seeking ways to halt the rise of infants developing allergies and promote the development of a lifelong robust immune system; we see great potential in functional foods, which could improve both the health and wealth of the next generation of New Zealanders. This international collaboration will expedite our ability to do this right here in this country."
The participants in the symposium were:
Prof Cathy Nagler, Dr Yohichi Shimma, Dr Noriko M Tsuji, Dr Elizabeth Forbes-Blom, Dr Takuji Yamada, Prof Takashi Saito, Prof Franca Ronchese, Dr Lieke van den Elsen, Prof Gerald Tannock, Dr Caroline Thum.