Dr Alexandra Roth Schulze - Population Health & Immunity and Bioinformatics divisions

Dr Alexandra Roth Schulze - Population Health & Immunity and Bioinformatics divisions

Start Time: 
Wed, 21/04/2021 - 1:00pm
End Time: 
Wed, 21/04/2021 - 2:00pm

WEHI Wednesday Seminar hosted by Professor Len Harrison


Dr Alexandra Roth Schulze

Research Officer - Harrison & Papenfuss Labs, Population Health & Immunity and Bioinformatics divisions


Type 1 diabetes in pregnancy is associated with distinct changes in the composition and function of the gut microbiome


Online via Slido and enter code #WEHIWEDNESDAY

Including Q&A session

The gut microbiome changes in response to a range of external influences, life events and disease. Pregnancy is a natural life event involving major physiological adaptation but studies of the microbiome in pregnancy are limited and their findings inconsistent. Pregnancy with type 1 diabetes (T1D) is associated with increased maternal and fetal risks. Knowledge of the gut microbiome in this context is entirely lacking. To understand how T1D impacts the gut microbiome in pregnancy whole metagenome sequencing (WMS) was used to define the taxonomic composition and function of the gut bacterial microbiome across 70 ENDIA pregnancies, 36 in women with T1D. Pregnant women with and without T1D exhibited compositional and functional changes in the gut microbiome across pregnancy. Profiles in women with T1D were distinct, with an increase in bacteria that produce lipopolysaccharides (LPS) and a decrease in bacteria that produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), especially in the third trimester, compared to women without T1D. In addition, women with T1D had elevated concentrations of calprotectin, a marker of intestinal inflammation, and of intestinal fatty acid-binding protein (iFABP), a marker of intestinal epithelial damage. Women with T1D exhibit a distinct shift towards a more inflammatory gut microbiome during pregnancy, associated with evidence of intestinal inflammation. These changes may contribute to the increased risk of pregnancy complications in women with T1D and could potentially be targeted for therapeutic intervention.


Alexandra has a bachelors degree in Genomic Sciences from the National University of Mexico and a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics from the University of New South Wales in Sydney. She has been working at WEHI since 2016 in the Papenfuss' and Harrison's laboratories. Her career has focused on investigating microbial communities (i.e. the microbiome) associated with diverse hosts from marine macroalgae and insects to humans and their impact on their hosts.