Sentinel North and Université Laval among leaders in microbiome research
Published on 30 Aug 2021
Université Laval’s Sentinel North program is enabling teams that are advancing our knowledge on the microbiome. As highlighted below, Sentinel North supports novel interdisciplinary research and the deployment of new technologies to shed light on the Arctic environmental microbiome and its impact on human health.
The following articles have been developed as part of the Exploring the Microbiome feature, a national campaign showcasing research on the microbiome by Innovating Canada.
As explained by scientific co-directors Marcel Babin and Yves De Koninck, the particular challenge facing Sentinel North researchers is to measure a wide array of critical variables in the least invasive fashion, in situ, in real-time, across space and time scales of several orders of magnitude, and with unparalleled precision. Hence the need to rely on advanced technologies and interdisciplinary research.
Recent discoveries about Arctic microbiomes, made possible by advanced molecular tools, are shedding new light on the link between the northern environment and human health. So say Warwick Vincent and Alex Culley, professors of biology and biochemistry (respectively) who study microbiomes in some of the most extreme environments on earth: glaciers, ice shelves, arctic lakes, soils, permafrost and ice-covered seas.
Professors and chairholders Vincenzo Di Marzo and Cristoforo Silvestri are working to better understand the interactions between the microbiome, the endocannabinoidome and health. These advances are of particular relevance to northerners, who are subject to several environmental stressors such as photoperiod, decrease in consumption of country foods and the presence of contaminants.