Dr Olivier Gasser and Master's student Anna Mooney

Scope 64 - Translational immunology leading the way with high value nutrition

31 October 2017, Dr Olivier Gasser, Scope, Translational Immunology

How can New Zealand companies leverage the relationship between food and our immune system to improve the health of consumers?

This is the question posed by Dr Olivier Gasser and the Translational Immunology team at the Malaghan Institute in collaboration with Plant & Food Research, as part of the High Value Nutrition (HVN) National Science Challenge.

People living in densely-populated urban environments are subject to much higher levels of air pollution than the general population, resulting in an increased risk of respiratory inflammation and disease. The goal of the HVN science challenge is to identify food and beverage products that can offer increased protection against inflammation caused by air pollution, and improve the effectiveness of vaccinations and the human immune system in the process. If Dr Gasser and his team can establish these relationships, it would create significant opportunities for the country’s food and beverage sector.

The team presented the latest set of results of a preclinical trial at the annual HVN conference in early October, which will serve as a future platform for ongoing study into dietary interventions and immune response.

The next goal of the HVN programme is to secure funding to continue the research beyond 2019.