Molecular nutrition of the gut-liver-brain axis

Michael Muller

Prof. Michael Muller

Research Leader

Molecular nutrition of the gut-liver-brain axis


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Research in the Müller group is directed towards getting an in-depth understanding of the exact mechanisms underpinning the role of nutrition in controlling health. We will use the knowledge we acquire to develop efficient strategies to prevent diet-related conditions, which include liver disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease. These strategies may include probiotics, food bioactives, specific bile acids or drugs that target specifically the small intestine to improve health and prevent systemic diseases.

We are currently facing significant human health and societal challenges that are linked to our unhealthy food patterns and lifestyles. One of the organs playing a vital role in health maintenance is the intestine. In the small intestine, food is processed, further digested and selected components are efficiently absorbed. The largely indigestible remnants that pass the SI and enter the colon are partly fermented by the resident microbiota. Compromised functionality of the intestine has been linked to several metabolic complications.

The important role of nutrition for the intestine, the gut microbiota and the gut liver axis is increasingly recognised. However, to our knowledge, the exact mechanisms underlying the complex interaction of the food-microbiome-host system in the different highly specialized regions of the small and large intestine remain largely unknown.

Our research aims to define the specific role of the microbiota in the differential responses of the small intestine to diets with different dietary fibre content.

We are studying how diet-related changes in the small intestinal bile acid metabolism impact enterohepatic functions and the functionality of the liver. We will also define the role of small intestinal metabolism for the aging phenotype of the gut-liver-brain axis.

By targeting the small intestinal microbiota and its metabolism, we will characterise the reversibility of detrimental age-related changes in the gut-liver-brain axis.

Interdisciplinary expertise allows us to apply our molecular nutrition research  to molecular biology techniques and in vivo studies using various mouse models a broad range of different methodologies like NGS, metabolomics (with a focus on bile acids), miRNA, Transcriptome, 16S microbiome analysis and the related systems biology-based data integration.

Muller Group

Our Targets

Targeting cancer


Targeting Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular Disease

Targeting liver disease

Liver/lipid disease

Targeting the understanding of the microbiome

Understanding the Microbiome

Targeting personalised nutrition

Personalised Nutrition

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