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Newsletter February 2015

Healthy food, healthy body? Databank bundles nutritional studies on diet, health and chronic diseases

‘A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life’ is the vision of Europe. To make that vision come true, the ENDAPASI project was started with ILVO as one of the Flemish partners. By bundling, aligning and sharing research data on the link between diet and health or chronic diseases, existing research data will become available for multidisciplinary and international studies. In the long term, this project will lead to better valorisation and promotion of nutritional research, and will increase knowledge and understanding of how nutrition and nutritional aspects can improve human health.

healthy foodThe project will be a “Knowledge Hub”, a big, ambitious, multidisciplinary collaborative network project with 16 consortia consisting of 51 knowledge institutes from nine EU Member States. The aim is to create an open access infrastructure of research data from nutritional research studies, ranging from mechanistic intervention studies to epidemiological studies. ILVO is a partner in the two Flemish consortia. The European Commission has set the ambitious goal that by 2030 all Europeans will have the motivation, ability and opportunity to consume a healthy diet from a variety of foods, have healthy levels of physical activity and that the incidence of diet-related diseases will have decreased significantly.

Research tasks:

  • Standards and minimal requirements will be developed and defined in order to connect existing databases and to facilitate the upload of future nutritional studies. Available studies that are not yet in a readable format will be uploaded. Furthermore, the quality of the uploaded studies will be validated and guidelines for data sharing will be drafted.
  • The actual available infrastructure will be technically developed, tested and released.
  • Tools for integrated analysis and ontologies of multiple studies will be developed. Furthermore, biomarker identifier mappings will be developed to facilitate biological interpretation.
  • Currently, researchers are hesitant to share data as they are unaware of the sharing conditions. Guidelines will therefore be drafted for efficient and legal sharing of data, resolving ethical, data protection, intellectual property, and data sharing policy issues.
  • Nutritional researchers will be trained in standards (SOPs and ontologies) and data upload using the open access infrastructure.

Case studies will be chosen to evaluate the actual infrastructure and to show the added value of connecting similar studies in resolving chronic diseases with lifestyle related solutions.

In order to maximize the output and impact of ENPADASI a consortium with a wide range of skills has been assembled with excellent connections to other relevant projects.

The instrumental data comparison combining existing studies improves the interpretation and validation of research results. In the longer term, it would be decrease the need for new, large and expensive intervention studies. Furthermore, such multidisciplinary approach will facilitate nutrition research and thereby will increase the knowledge and understanding of how food and nutrition can improve human health.

Title: ENPADASI: European Nutrition Phenotype Assessment and Data Sharing Initiative
Funding: FWO
Term: December 2014 – November 2016

Flemish consortium (FiND) coordinated by Prof. S. De Henauw, UGent, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Public Health, Unit Nutrition and Food Safety:

  • Ghent University (Prof. S. Bekaert, Prof. B. Lapauw, Dr. K. Vyncke, Prof. O. De Wever and Prof. I. Devisch)
  • KU Leuven (Prof. J. Raes and Prof. K. Verbeke)
  • Antwerpen University (Prof. N. Hermans, Prof. L. Van Gaal and Prof. W. Vanden Berghe)
  • VU Brussel (Prof. P. Clarys and Prof. I. Bautmans)
  • Hasselt University (Prof. T. Nawrot)
  • VITO (Dr. E. Den Hond)

Flemish consortium (INDIANA) coordinated by Prof. C. Lachat, UGent, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Department of Food Safety and Food Quality:

  • Ghent University (Prof. J. Van Camp, Prof. B. De Baets, Prof. W. Verbeke and Prof. G. De Tré)
  • KULeuven (Prof. Chr. Matthys)
  • Hasselt University (Prof. W. Pinxten)

Contact: Lieve Herman, Hendrik De Ruyck