Dr Leda Roncoroni (biologist and nutritionist from Milan, Italy) has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Dr Schär Institute Nutrition Project Award
Speaking at an informal presentation of the award, Dr Roncoroni commented: "We wanted to apply for the 2018 Dr Schär Nutrition Project Award in order to develop a project we had been considering for some time. We focused our attention on the coeliac population, in particular on refractory patients, a small subgroup of coeliac disease sufferers who do not respond to a strict gluten-free diet, with persistent malabsorption and atrophy of the intestinal villi. Our interest was sparked by the fact that there are no studies exploring the microbiota of these patients in any depth; it is widely recognised that the intestinal microbiota plays a role in the onset and progression of intestinal inflammation in numerous chronic conditions, including coeliac disease. One particular aim of our research project is to observe the nutritional impact of a diet low in fermentable short-chain carbohydrates, or FODMAPs on the intestinal microbiota in refractory coeliac sufferers compared to patients who complain of persistent gastrointestinal symptoms, but who are essentially functional patients. As well as the microbiota, the microRNA circulating in the bloodstream will be measured before and after dietary treatment. These are small RNA, of which little is known regarding their potential impact on autoimmune diseases, and above all, regarding their regulation in coeliac disease. The project will be run at our Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Unit, within the Centre of reference for the prevention and diagnosis of coeliac disease, Policlinico of Milan."