Parasites, immunology and gut health (PIGH)

We have a particular interest in how bioactive dietary components influence mucosal responses to gastrointestinal parasites. We are also interested in characterizing novel anti-parasitic compounds from natural plant sources. We conduct basic and applied research on parasite control in domestic animals, and  he influence of parasites on host inflammation and autoimmune diseases.

Our research takes place with a large network of international collaborators, and is funded largely by the Independent Research Fund Denmark, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the Lundbeck Foundation, and the Carlsberg Foundation.

Research Areas

Parasite-Diet-Immunology Interactions:   We explore how different dietary components (fibres, prebiotics, probiotics) regulate immune function. We use both in vitro systems and animal models of parasite infection (mice, pigs) to explore how these bioactive compounds interact with the host immune system and the microbiota. Our aim is to develop novel functional food components that may have relevance for human health and livestock production.

New anti-parasitic compounds from plants:  We are exploring how a range of different terrestrial (e.g. chicory) and marine (e.g. seaweed) plants may be used as novel feed additives or forage for sustainable parasite control in livestock. We work closely together with the VETPAR group and collaborators both within industry and the academic sector (DTU).

Basic host-parasite interactions and immunology:  Parasites and their hosts have co-evolved for thousands of years and share an intimate relationship. We are exploring the mechanisms used by  helminths to modulate host immune cell activity, in close collaboration with colleagues at Aarhus University (Prof. Peter Nejsum) and numerous other colleagues world-wide.