Clinical trial – diet and the microbiome

Clinical Trial now open

This clinical trial has commenced and is no longer accepting participants.


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If you have ever wondered about the connection between your diet and what lives inside you – your microbiome – then here is a chance to find out!

What is this research about?

L-R: Tamblyn Thomason, A/Prof Sam Forster, Dr Nicole Kellow, Emma Saltzman, Dr Marina Iacovou's study on diet and the microbiome
The Study trial team (L-R): Tamblyn Thomason (Research assistant), A/Prof Sam Forster (Principal investigator), Dr Nicole Kellow (Principal investigator), Emma Saltzman (PhD student), Dr Marina Iacovou (Principal investigator)

This project is aimed at understanding the connection between diet and the gut microbiome (population of trillions of bacteria in our gut). Whilst we are conscious of the transmission of harmful microbes through food, we may be overlooking beneficial microbes that may be found in our fresh food.

Our lab has found a remarkable number of different bacterial species can live in our minimally processed foods. We want to investigate the eventual fate and function of food microbes, to see if they can potentially provide health benefits if they are eaten. 

Our clinical trial will look to see if food microbes can survive digestion and colonise our gut microbiome.

Who can participate?

You may be eligible to participate if you meet all the following criteria:

  • Aged 18-65 years old
  • No underlying medical conditions
  • Are available October and November 2023
  • Able to complete a two-month dietary study and agree to eating all meals provided
  • Have regular (almost daily) bowel movements
  • Can attend fortnightly visits to our research facility in Notting Hill
  • Commit to self-collecting stool samples
  • Have access to a domestic oven

What will the trial involve?

The trial aims to find out if the microbes in our food can contribute to the gut microbiome. The team will do this by providing food with known bacterial content for one month and seeing if they can be detected in stool samples.

You will be asked to consume only the food provided to you for one month – with a two week break after two weeks (during this break you can resume your normal diet). The dietitian-designed and chef prepared meals will be provided free of charge to your home.

You will also be required to attend our research facility (Notting Hill) fortnightly throughout the trial (up to two hours duration for each visit) – visits will include having fasting blood samples taken.

All contact details collected for this study are kept entirely confidential. Participant information in this study is also de-identified and kept confidential.

This project has been approved by Monash Health HREC RES-21-0000-602A.

Lead researchers

Sam Forster in the lab at Hudson Institute

Associate Professor Sam Forster
Principal investigator, Research Group Head, Microbiota and Systems Biology Research group

Marina Iacovou from the Microbiota and Systems Biology Research Group at Hudson Institute

Dr Marina Iacovou
Principal investigator, Senior Research Scientist, Microbiota and Systems Biology Research group

Dr Nicole Kellow, Honorary Clinical Associate at Hudson Institute

Dr Nicole Kellow
Principal investigator, Honorary Clinical Associate, Microbiota and Systems Biology Research group

Tamblyn Thomason, Research Assistant at Hudson Institute

Tamblyn Thomason
Research Assistant, Microbiota and Systems Biology Research group

Emma Saltzman, a PhD Student from the Microbiota and Systems Biology Research Group at Hudson Institute of Medical Research.

Emma Saltzman
PhD Student, Microbiota and Systems Biology Research group

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