Dr Liz Powell of Imperial College and St Mary’s Hospital London will be taking up a Micropathology Ltd Clinical Research Fellowship from January 2013 for 3 years to pursue this study.
The respiratory tract microbiota is increasingly recognised to play an important role in diseases, including asthma, cystic fibrosis and otitis media. In addition it has been hypothesised that the nature of the upper respiratory tract microbiota affects future risk of disease including reactive airways disease and allergic rhinitis. However the establishment of the respiratory microbiota over the first years of life and its relation to the microbiota of the gastrointestinal tract has not been intensively studied. By identifying the normal development of the microbiota in health, insight can be gained into future therapeutic manipulation of the microbiota in disease.
The DORMICe study is a longitudinal cohort study tracking the normal development of the respiratory tract microbiota in healthy term babies until their third birthday. 200 healthy term babies are to be recruited at birth and studied for two years. Clinical metadata will be collected regularly on feeding choices, immunisation uptake and intercurrent illness. Upper respiratory tract secretions will be collected regularly by pharyngeal swabbing. Next Generation Sequencing of PCR-amplified 16S rRNA gene fragments at our laboratories will be used to identify the bacterial members of the microbiota in an unbiased way, and multiplex viral PCR will be used to detect respiratory viruses present both in health and during respiratory infection, to explore differences in the bacterial and viral composition of the microbiota in children who do and do not later wheeze.