Home » Our research » Oral, intestinal and systemic health

Oral, intestinal and systemic health

Icon Oral intestinal and sistemic health close up of anatomy Icon Oral intestinal and sistemic health close up of anatomy

Theme leads

Professor Iain Chapple

Oral, Intestinal and Systemic Health Theme Lead

Professor Tariq Iqbal

Oral, Intestinal and Systemic Health Theme Lead

Investigating the link between the bugs in the mouth and those in the gut and how these both cause inflammatory conditions in the body, starting with inflammatory bowel disease.

The relationship between the bugs (microbiome) residing in our gastrointestinal tract and the immune system is both ancient and complex. The recent development of our ability to investigate the microbiome focusing on the genes of the bugs has allowed us to start unravelling this interaction and to begin to understand the damaging inflammatory consequences resulting from imbalances in the microbiome. The most obvious example of this is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is epidemic and estimated to affect up to 1% of the population in the coming decade. The overall aims of this theme – starting with IBD – are to carefully analyse the oral/gut microbiome of patients with newly diagnosed IBD attending the IBD inception clinic at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. This will enable us to develop:

  • new tests based on the microbiota in saliva which will allow for the detection of IBD
  • new ways of predicting disease outcome (prognosis)
  • new treatments based on the microbiome. We aim to achieve this by using faecal microbiome transplantation (FMT) from the Microbiome Treatment Centre and later oral microbiome transplantation (OMT) in clinical trials to treat patients with inflammation, while gaining an understanding of the parts of the microbes which are important in healing. We will take forward these microbes to grow in the lab, test and formulate into potential new treatments (live biotherapeutics) to use in further clinical trials. While our starting point is IBD, we will extend our strategy to other chronic inflammatory conditions in collaboration with other BRC themes.

Latest case studies

Research projects

Dentistry research and teaching biorepository

The dentistry research and teaching biorepository (DRTB) is a collection of human tissue and other…

Next generation probiotics: Developing microbial-based oral formulations…

There are trillions of bacteria living within our bowels. This is normal as…

Advancing research in IBD: the SLICC inception…

Since 2021 and in collaboration with Hofmann La Roche we have set up…