Dr Alejandra Wiedeman will investigate why children treated with antipsychotic medication develop side effects such as excessive weight gain and other risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Antipsychotic drugs are used to treat a number of serious mental health conditions and can be life-saving. The aim of this work is to find new ways to identify which children are at risk for metabolic complications from second-generation antipsychotics.
My research examines the role of intestinal microbial communities, known as the gut microbiome, in child growth, particularly in the context of malnutrition. I am involved in two large studies in Zimbabwe and Zambia which aim to examine the pathogenesis of two forms of malnutrition: stunting and severe acute malnutrition. I am conducting whole metagenome shotgun sequencing of infant stool samples and metabolic phenotyping of blood and urine sample to examine the role of disturbed gut microbiome in early life growth and the metabolic disturbances associated with malnutrition.
We aim to determine whether an exclusive enteral formula containing fibre leads to enhanced mucosal healing, reduced inflammation and more beneficial gut microbiota changes when compared to standard exclusive enteral formula (which contains no fibre) and normal chow using mouse models of colitis.