Gianni Panagiotou


Professor, Friedrich Schiller University & University of Hong Kong,
Head of Microbiome Dynamics, Leibniz-Hans Knoell Institute




Gianni Panagiotou is a classical trained chemical engineered graduated from the National Technical University of Athens. He obtained his PhD from the same university before moving to the Technical University of Denmark, initially as a Post-doctoral fellow, then promoted to Assistant Professor and soon after to Associate Professor. Currently he is Professor at the Friedrich Schiller University (Germany) and the University of Hong Kong (China) and Head of the Department Microbiome Dynamic in Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology (Germany). The expertise of his group is the generation, integration and interrogation of large heterogeneous datasets from microbes, microbial communities and their host to discover microbial consortia or species that characterize healthy and disease states. The ultimate objective of his research is the identification of new biomarkers for diagnosis and the discovery of new microbiome-based therapies. Panagiotou’s group is currently coordinating the Horizon 2020 ITN “BestTreat”, the BMBF “PERMICCION” and it’s a member of the DFG Cluster of Excellence “Balance of the Microverse”, Hong Kong Area of Excellence “Institute of Metabolic Diseases”, DFG Collaborative Research Cluster “FungiNet” and Collaborative Research Fund “MarineGEO Hong Kong” all related to the integration of phenotypic, genomic and microbiome data using machine learning models and network based analysis.




Title: Shaping the Disease Microbiome with Dietary and Lifestyle Interventions


The contribution of the microbiome to homeostatic regulation extends beyond the gut to almost all tissues in our body. However, despite the mutualistic symbiosis between humans and their associated microbiota this healthy balance of the microbes in the gut is fragile and can be disrupted either through dietary and lifestyle choices or medication. This disruption is subsequently leading to the occurrence of various chronic diseases often related to an inflammatory condition. Actually, over the past century we have witnessed a substantial increase of most microbiome-linked pathologies. The changes that have occurred in lifestyle might be leading to disruption of gut microbiota-host symbiosis through the loss of protective or expansion of pathogenic microbes. In particular Western diet, which is poor in microbiota-accessible carbohydrates, has been linked to an irreversible reduction of bacterial diversity and complete vanishing of particular bacterial species in the gastrointestinal tract. During my talk I would share successful stories from our lab where probiotics (Li et al., 2016, PNAS), exercise (Liu et al., 2020, Cell Metabolism) and dietary interventions (unpublished data) have shaped the microbiome with the potential to drive real change in clinical practise and transform medicine.