Dr Tanja Suligoj


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Glycobiology of host-microbe interactions in the gut


My research interest focuses on the use of human in vitro models to study gut health and disease. The models include primary epithelial cell monolayers derived from human intestinal organoids and grown on chips, polarized organ culture system of intestinal tissue as well as human cell lines. I am currently investigating the effects of food components on human gut barrier function. Previously I have been involved in projects investigating the mechanisms of bacterial adhesion to gastrointestinal mucus and Lgr5+ stem cell proliferation and migration.

Through these projects, I have been collaborating with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) (gastroenterology clinicians, nurses from the endoscopy facility) and with the NRP Biorepository for sample collection and Ethical approvals. I hold a research passport allowing me to consent patients at NNUH.

Before joining the Quadram Institute Bioscience in 2015 I worked on coeliac disease at King’s College London, which included the following topics:

    • Identification of toxic components in gluten for patients with coeliac disease using in vitro models: small intestinal organ culture and small intestinal gluten-specific T cells.
    • Screening novel candidate foods’ safety for consumption by coeliac patients using immunoassays, in vitro models as well as clinical samples from feeding studies.
    • Development of improved methods for measurement of gluten in foods including production of new monoclonal antibodies, assay development and optimization.
    • Development of new blood test for coeliac disease screening based on detection of antibodies to glutenins.

Key Publications

Sequeira et al. Structural basis for the role of serine-rich repeat proteins from Lactobacillus reuteri in gut microbe–host interactions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 115: E2706–15.

Owen et al. Unravelling the specificity and mechanism of sialic acid recognition by the gut symbiont Ruminococcus gnavus. Nat Commun. 2017 8:2196.

Šuligoj T, Ciclitira PJ, Božič B. Diagnostic and research aspects of small intestinal disaccharidases in coeliac disease. J Immunol Res Volume (2017), (review).

Šuligoj T, Gregorini A, Colomba M, Ellis HJ, Ciclitira PJ. Evaluation of the safety of ancient strains of wheat in coeliac disease reveals heterogeneous small intestinal T cell responses suggestive of coeliac toxicity. Clin Nutr. 2013 Dec; 32(6):1043-9.

Zevallos VF, Ellis HJ, Šuligoj T, Herencia LI, Ciclitira PJ. Variable activation of immune response by quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) prolamins in celiac disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Aug; 96(2):337-44.

uligoj T,Vigsnæs LK,Abbeele PVD,Apostolou A,Karalis K,Savva GM,McConnell B,Juge N. (2020)

Effects of Human Milk Oligosaccharides on the Adult Gut Microbiota and Barrier Function

Nutrients, 12(9):E2808.

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Sequeira S., Kavanaugh D., MacKenzie D. A., Suligoj T., Walpole S., Leclaire C., Gunning A. P., Latousakis D., Willats W. G. T., Angulo J., Dong C., Juge N.. (2018)

Structural basis for the role of serine-rich repeat proteins fromLactobacillus reuteriin gut microbe-host interactions.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

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Owen C. D., Tailford L. E., Monaco S., Suligoj T., Vaux L., Khedri Z., Yu H., Lecointe K., Walshaw J., Tribolo S., Horrex M., Bell A., Chen X., Taylor G. L., Varki A., Angulo J., Juge N.. (2017)

Unravelling the specificity and mechanism of sialic acid recognition by the gut symbiont Ruminococcus gnavus.

Nature communications, 8, 2196

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Related Case Studies

Human milk oligosaccharides improve ‘leaky’ guts

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