About Rene van den Wijngaard

Dr van den Wijngaard undertook his PhD-training at the Academic Medical Center/University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands). His thesis, entitled "New insight in vitiligo: immunopathology", focused on autoimmune destruction of melanocytes in vitiligonous skin. After obtaining his PhD he then changed to gut-oriented research by starting as a post-doc at the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the same institute. At present, he is a scientific staff member in this department and carries out his research activities at the Tytgat Institute for Liver and Intestinal Research. His focus is on the role of mast cells and gut fungi/yeast in abdominal pain complaints of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Despite the global focus on COVID-19, 2021 was also a productive year in gut microbiome research. In this “2021 Year at a glance” report, discover emerging trends in postbiotics, the role of beneficial microbes in dietary guidelines, diet-related tools for shaping the gut microbiome and the potential role of newly identified probiotics in obesity and functional dyspepsia.

Despite the fact that current guidelines for managing inflammatory bowel diseases do not devote attention to diet as a central element of treatment, there is an increasing amount of evidence that supports the role of diet in patients with IBD. A new nationwide cohort study shows the association between the level of inflammatory potential in diet and risk of Crohn’s disease.

Human microbiota-associated mice studies are considered a cornerstone model in microbiome research and may contribute to microbiome-based therapies moving quickly towards clinical use. A new perspective from Jens Walter and colleagues explores the model’s limitations and makes suggestions for improving experimental rigor when testing for causality in microbiome research.