“A Healthy Start to a Healthy Life” is the overarching theme of the Liggins Institute, with a focus on how the early life environment, including maternal, foetal and neonatal nutrition, can have a life-long impact on health. In this institutional context, we have established and are still developing longitudinal, holistic molecular phenotyping by high-end omics techniques and advanced data analysis. The purpose is to gain comprehensive insights into – mainly metabolic – health and growth and to generate new hypotheses in this field, with the latter complementing the testing of preconceived hypotheses. Minimally invasive sampling of blood, urine and breast milk of mothers; and/or blood, urine, stool of babies and children, is the prerequisite for such molecular phenotyping. Mass spectrometry and its deployment in metabolomics and micronutrient profiling, respectively, are the enabling technologies behind such holistic analyses. They have been recently elevated to and deployed in (large-scale) clinical applications. Longitudinal phenotyping of human subjects over time, across life span, and pre- and post-intervention are beginning to reveal “personal” candidate markers and mechanisms of gastrointestinal, metabolic and cognitive health, as well as nutritional response.
Auckland UniServices has established a new Innovation Institute in the Chinese city of Hangzhou. The Institute occupies a 2800m2 physical space in the Hangzhou Economic and Technological Development Area (HEDA) and will quickly become a world-class centre for research and innovation. Hangzhou is one of China’s leading innovation and technology hubs and is home to the research and development centres of leading companies like Siemens, Abbott, Pfizer, Novartis, Bayer, Eli Lilly, Merck, Huawei and ABB. The Institute is seen as a potential springboard for market investigation, research and commercialisation between EpiGen partners and China.