Israeli professor leads research into antibiotic use and offspring behavior
Professor Koren, of Bar-Ilan University, says 'if successful, this study will enable women to take antibiotics even during pregnancy and while breastfeeding'
World renowned Israeli microbiology researcher, Professor Omry Koren, was the recipient of a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) grant, for his research into the effects of antibiotic use during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Koren started the project, at Bar-Ilan University, to examine the increased use of antibiotics and its potential impact on the maternal microbiome and fetal development, which can lead to long-term behavioral changes, including aggression.
To date, research at Koren's Microbiome Research Laboratory has shown promising results supporting the hypothesis that behaviors are partially affected by gut bacteria and associated metabolic compounds.
As a result, Professor Koren started developing a postbiotic (microbial metabolites) that can be taken daily after antibiotics were used during pregnancy and breastfeeding, which would restore the form and function of the microbiota and thus attenuate changes in the baby's behavior.
Koren's project, known as PRO-MOM, will build on these discoveries and evolve into a preclinical model aimed to reduce aggressiveness and other side effects associated with antibiotic use during pregnancy or lactation.
"If successful, this study will enable women to take antibiotics even during pregnancy and while breast-feeding in the knowledge that they will do no harm to their offspring," Professor Koren said.
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The Proof of Concept (PoC) Fellowship provides funding to researchers who are currently funded or have previously been funded by the ERC to enable their ideas to progress along the path from cutting-edge research to innovation.
The PoC grant, worth $165,547, helps researchers bridge the gap between the discoveries of exploratory research and practical application of the results, including the early stages of commercialization. Koren previously received an ERC Consolidator fellowship, awarded to outstanding researchers with highly promising scientific experience, for his preliminary research linking microbiota, hormones and aggression.