Since May 1st Francesca has begun her post-doc in the Nutrition and Nutrigenomics Group, a part of the Food Quality and Nutrition Department at FEM-IASMA. The project she will be involved in is “TrentinoGut”, a start-up team grant awarded by the Marie-Curie/Provincia Autonoma di Trento COFUND programme in early 2010, which combines existing strengths in food technology, food metabolomics and fermentation at IASMA-FEM. Through a combination of in vitro gut microbial fermentation, in vivo functional food testing (i.e. human feeding studies) and molecular microbial ecology, the research of the group will focus on the health promoting attributes of whole plant foods (i.e. apples, soft fruits, grapes) and their polyphenolic and prebiotic fiber components, and other traditional Trentino dairy and cereal food products (i.e. cheese, polenta). In particular, Francesca will employ in vitro cell models (e.g. colonic epithelial cell lines) and in vivo dietary interventions with human volunteers to investigate the human health benefits associated with gut microbial metabolism of whole plant foods (biomarkers of gut health – gut permeability through trans-epithelial electric resistance, faecal water genotioxicity through Comet Assay – cancer, cardiovascular disease and inflammation).

FRANCESCA FAVA  researcher ID profile

Curriculum Vitae

Francesca studied Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the University of Bologna, where she graduated in 2003. After her degree she did a one year training on gut microbiology at the University of Reading, School of Food Bioscience, with a scholarship from the University of Bologna. She did her PhD at the School of Chemistry, Pharmacy and Food Bioscience of the University of Reading, under the supervision of Prof. Glenn Gibson, Prof. Julie Lovegrove and Dr Kieran Tuohy. The title of her PhD was “Measurement of diet: microbiota interactions relevant to obesity and the metabolic syndrome” and the project mainly looked at the impact of the diet (i.e. Western style- high fat- high glycaemic index- diet) on the gastrointestinal microbiota composition and activities in relation to recognised biomarkers of human obesity-associated diseases (in particular cardiovascular disease), through long term dietary interventions on human metabolic syndrome volunteers. After her PhD Francesca did a postdoc in the same department working on a prebiotic human feeding study. More recently (2009) she did a postdoc at the Istituto Clinico Humanitas in Rozzano (MI) sponsored by a fellowship from the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organization (ECCO), with a project titled “Measuring the impact of anti-tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) treatment on the faecal microbiota in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)”, aiming to look at the microbial contribution to chronic gut inflammatory diseases and the role of innate immunity in IBD.