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Training and Research for Sustainable Solutions to Support and Sustain Gut Health and Reduce Losses in Monogastric Livestock

Project summary:

The overall objective of MonoGutHealth is to provide an interdisciplinary, intersectoral and international training experience for ESR’s in an inspiring, novel and highly topical area of livestock research encompassing animal husbandry, social innovations and entrepreneurship. The 11 ESR projects will explore strategies employing nutritional and/or bioactive ingredients to influence perinatal development in monogastrics. The objective being to support optimal microbial colonisation of the gut and healthy body development in pigs and chickens. As a result, livestock will be more resilient to environmental and health challenges and ultimately the number of medicinal treatments will be reduced. MonoGutHealth will contribute to improvements in welfare and in the overall production efficiency of livestock production. Specifically, ESR projects will explore the efficiency of innovative feeding strategies prior to birth and/or during the early neonatal periods to improve the development of the gastrointestinal tract [GIT] and its microbiome and to enhance resilience to pathogen challenges. This will be achieved through intersectoral and synergistic collaborations between industry partners, academic and non-academic beneficiaries to generate innovative tools for more resilient livestock. At the end of this ETN, we will have provided in-depth training in scientific and soft skills for a new ‘breed’ of researchers who can seamlessly cross the traditional discipline boundaries and identify and implement the most appropriate tools required to comprehensively answer pressing current and future challenges in science and/or industry.

Objectives/Expected benefits:

The main objective of the MonoGutHealth ETN is to train young researchers in international, interdisciplinary research using innovative methodologies that focus on novel nutritional approaches in pigs and chickens, prior to birth and/or in the early neonatal/post-weaning period, to optimise GIT development and microbial colonisation resulting in more resilient pigs and chickens. The training exposes the ESR to various cutting-edge methodologies. Finally, ESRs will have the opportunity to participate in an exciting and well-monitored first experience in research teams led by enthusiastic researchers at the cutting edge of animal science technologies.

The innovative ESR projects:

  • will train each ESR in state-of-the-art physiological, molecular, histological, biochemical and/or microbiological techniques.
  • will generate new knowledge on the phenotypic and metabolic background of poor (as compared with average) performing piglets and broilers and identify and evaluate perinatal nutritional strategies to improve their survival, growth and development.
  • will generate new knowledge to understand the important changes in the early life development of the GIT and the gut associated microbiome of poor performing piglets and underweight broilers
  • will test the efficacy of the specific nutritional strategies under unfavourable conditions by using established infection/challenge models in pigs and poultry.


Dr. Peadar Lawlor

Dr. Paul Cormican

Dr. Keelin O’Driscoll

Dr. Rita Hickey

Post Graduate student 1

Post Graduate student 2


Eidgenoessisches Departement Fuer Wirtschaft, Bildung Und Forschung, Switzerland

Uniwersytet Technologiczno Przyrodniczy Im Jana I Jedrzeja Sniadeckich W Bydgoszczy, Poland

Leibniz-Institut Fur Nutztierbiologie, Germany

Aarhus Universitet, Denmark

Universite De Liege, Belgium

Prof. Gillian Gardiner, Waterford Institute of Technology.

Ms. Susan Dudley, Kiernan Milling

Dr. Ramon Muns, AFBI, Northern Ireland.

Funding body:

EU Horizon 2020, Call: H2020-MSCA-ITN-2020 (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks)

For more information contact: Dr. Peadar Lawlor at Peadar.lawlor@teagasc.ie or 025 42217