News updates from the Gibson Lab

It’s been an exciting summer at the Gibson Lab with interviews, awards and publications. Here are some highlights:

  1. Have a look at our latest publications Prolonged antibiotic treatment induces a diabetogenic intestinal microbiome that accelerates diabetes in NOD mice and Methods for improving human gut microbiome data by reducing variability through sample processing and storage of stool
  2. Read this interview with Dr. Deanna Gibson on diet and IBD
  3. Congratulations to undergraduate student and Gibson lab member on receiving awards for best oral presentation for her project titled Impact of environmental microbes on the mammalian gut microbiot

Celebrating Kelowna’s first ever Gutsy Walk!

On Sunday, June 7th, 2015 we came together to walk in the first annual Gutsy Walk in Kelowna.

233,000 Canadians live with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. This fundraising effort will help stop the chronic pain and shame that comes with this disease. The event was about coming together for a common cause: to make the urgent bathroom visits, hospital stays and multiple surgeries stop.

We raised close to $23,000! This was made possible by the organizers from our lab, Bod, Nijiati, and Sandeep, along with volunteers and participants from our lab. Dr. Deanna Gibson walked with her family and spoke to participants about research at the Gibson Lab.

Here are some photos capturing the magic of the day:

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Congratulations to Graduate student Nijiati Abulizi for winning the Golden Key Graduate Scholarship!


Nijiati has been selected  as a winner of the 2014 Graduate Scholar Scholarship, Fall Selection, with a scholarship award of $10,000.00 USD by Golden Key International Honour Society. Golden Key’s scholarships and awards program is one of the many ways that Golden Key recognizes the outstanding achievements in academics, leadership and services to the community of its members every year.

Congratulations to Graduate student Candice Quin!


Candice Quin received the CIHR Canadian Graduate Scholarship  – Masters’s (CGS M) for her project titled “Fish Oil Supplementation to Maternal Diets Rich in Unsaturated Fats Increase Offspring Susceptibility to Infectious Colitis”.

Clinical evidence is conflicting on the beneficial outcomes of fish oil supplementation during pregnancy and its effects on the offspring. It is unknown how fish oil supplementation impacts the offspring’s gut microbiome and immunity. Considering that diet influences microbiota and maternal microbiota is passed from mother to infant, we hypothesize that maternal fish oil supplementation will affect their offspring’s gut microbiota and immunity. To approach this, I will investigate gut microbiota and immune responses during infectious colitis from the offspring of mothers fed various fat diets supplemented with fish oil. This research could result in strategies to manage immune susceptibility by regulating maternal dietary intake during gestation and breastfeeding.

$17,500 over 12 month

Congratulations to undergraduate student Sandeep Gill!


Sandeep Gill won the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) for 4 months of summer research on her project titled “Fish oil supplementation has a differential effect during murine colitis dependent on background fatty acids.”

The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of fatty acids with or without fish oil supplementation on ulcerative colitis. Emerging evidence has identified dietary lipid intake to be an important factor contributing to the etiology of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). In the past 30 years, the western lipid diet has shifted from saturated fats (SFAs) to “heart-healthy” polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The health effects of omega-6 PUFA are in question as new evidence reveals the detrimental impacts of excessive omega-6 PUFA dietary intakes. This study looks at the effects of different fatty acids (omega-6 PUFA, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and SFA). Furthermore, the effects of fish oil supplementation (omega-3 PUFA) on colitis are conflicting and need to be clarified. This study will help determine whether fish oil has a differential effect depending on the background diet that is being consumed. This will have significant implications when considering the contradicting evidence for dietary fish oil supplementation in IBD patients.


Congratulations to PhD student Mehrbod Estaki!



Bod won the NSERC PhD award for his PGS-D NSERC application titled: “The role of physical activity in altering intestinal microbial ecology and its consequences on normal host functions”.  The application was accepted for 24 months ($42,000) starting May of 2015. 

The overall aim of this project is to 1) determine if physical activity affects the ecology of the intestinal microbiota and if such changes influence the adaptation response to exercise and 2) determine if physical activity-induced microbial changes can alter host physiological consequences in the intestine.
This project will expand our understanding of the microbiota-host nexus, improve standards in animal care, farming, and veterinary services by establishing ‘access to physical activity’ as a standard housing enrichment. Findings from this project will also be beneficial in the context of inflammatory bowel disease, in establishing whether physical activity can play a role in preventing disease onset or reduce symptom severity. Further, we aim to identify microbes to be potentially used as probiotics to enhance health and athletic performance.