Go with Your Gut to Animal Health & Nutrition Forum

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Animal health and nutrition is gutsy work. That’s because gastrointestinal health is central, not only to animal, but also to human, welfare. Research in one informs innovation in the other.

Thus, life science professionals with an interest in gastrointestinal health of either animals or humans will want to attend the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Animal Health & Nutrition Forum, November 4, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The event is free, but requires registration. The theme is “Gastrointestinal Functionality: Nutrition, Biochemistry, Microbiota and More.” Check-in is 4:30-5:00 p.m., presentations from 5 to 6 p.m. and networking with refreshments from 6 to 7 p.m.

Jack Odle, Ph.D., William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at North Carolina State University and member of the UNC School of Medicine’s Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease, will present “Bioactive Nutrients Impacting GI Health of the Neonate.” His laboratory has developed a piglet agri-medical model considered to be the premier model for all mammalian neonates (birth-4 weeks old in humans), including pediatric pre-clinical research. He will discuss the model and its use and will focus on recent work in his lab on prebiotic oligosaccharides.

Jack Odle, Ph.D.
Jack Odle, Ph.D.

Prebiotics are non-digestible fiber parts of foods, like bananas, onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, skins of apples, chicory root, beans and others, that act as a fertilizer for the good microorganisms in your gut. Fructo-oligosaccharides and galacto-oligosaccharides are the two important groups of prebiotics that benefit human health. Probiotics, on the other hand, are live bacteria that benefit the human gut and come from the fermentation process of foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and others. Examples are the active cultures listed on the side of a yogurt cup, such as Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium.

Joan Torrent, Ph.D., co-owner, co-founder and technical director of Oligo Basics, a developer and manufacturer of functional animal feed additives with offices in Brazil, the U.S. and Spain, will present "Life Without Antibiotic Growth Promoters: From "foo-foo" dust to real solutions." He will address how gut health can be managed and animal performance maintained or enhanced in the absence of antibiotics. Oglio Basics produces non-toxic, environmentally friendly functional oils, which have benefits as feed additives beyond the energy they provide, such as antioxidant, antimicrobial or anti-inflammatory. They are derived from commonly known oils such as castor oil and cashew nut shell oil.

Animal Health & Nutrition is a strategic project of NCBiotech’s Agriculture Sector initiated a year ago by Nandini Mendu, Ph.D., senior director, agriculture sector development. Mendu is using research to develop in-depth reports that showcase North Carolina's strengths and growth opportunities compared to other areas of the nation in this area in hopes of revealing a pathway to successful expansion.

Joan Torrent, Ph.D.
Joan Torrent, Ph.D.

The project also included starting the Animal Health & Nutrition Intellectual Exchange Group (AH&N IEG), whose mission is to provide a forum for professionals (academics as well as industry) working in the animal health and nutrition space. The forum provides opportunities to discuss relevant topics, network, build relationships and form collaborations. It also serves as a forum to identify technologies that could be spun out from universities and for company executives to develop peer-level relationships and company collaborations. Ultimately, it aims to become the core of a future cluster in Research Triangle Park around animal health and nutrition.

The AH&N IEG hosts four or five events per year on topics of current interest, each with a specific theme and one academic and one industry speaker to represent the different perspectives. Attendees come from animal health and animal nutrition companies – large, small, midsize and startups; students and postdocs from universities; researchers from adjacent spaces; people who provide supporting services like corporate and patent attorneys; journalists and investors.

Elizabeth Witherspoon, Ph.D., NCBiotech writer
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 14:25