Dr. Alix Dubert-Ferrandon received her PhD in Food Biosciences at the University of Reading in the UK in 2005. She is working in Dr. Nanthakumar's laboratory on a comparison of the prebiotic anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious properties of synthetic galactosyl oligosaccharides and human milk oligosaccharides.
Human milk provides immune protection to the newborn. Human milk oligosaccharides are innate immune factors that protect the nursing infant from infection. Fucosyloligosaccharides from human milk competitively inhibit specific binding by certain pathogens to gut epithelium. Human milk oligosaccharides also act as efficient prebiotics. Other indigestible oligosaccharides, including galactosyloligosaccharides (GOS) also provide substrates for health-promoting bacteria of infants, and thus may be prebiotic for the newborn. However, the ability of GOS to inhibit pathogen binding to, and infection of, enterocytes has not been extensively investigated.
Alix is determining the ability of GOS to inhibit binding and infectivity of major intestinal pathogens in cells that represent immature and mature gut, representing newborn epithelium and the epithelium of the adult.