Walter Wahli

Molecular targets open for regulation by the gut flora new avenues for improved diet to optimize European health

Domaine: Cooperation FAB

Acronyme: TORNADO

Durée: 01.09.2009 – 31.08.2013

Budget total: 5.900.000 EUR

Budget UNIL: 524.932 EUR


Walter Wahli, Centre intégratif de génomique, FBM



Europe is facing major diet related health problems. Attitudes to eating habits have to be changed and the benefits of alternative treatment regimes substantiated. This can only be achieved by providing guidelines regulating health claims based on scientific data. Thus, there is a unique opportunity to use gut flora in potential treatment regimes and as a preventive target for major diet related health problems. TORNADO consortium proposes a systemic and comprehensive mechanistic approach to deliver scientific data that can be compiled as guidelines for European authorities.

TORNADO will determine the influence of diet on the gut flora and highlight the impact of gut flora on the immune system/other organ systems. TORNADO aims to investigate molecular targets that are subject to regulation by gut flora and diet that sustain health. This will be done by an increasing level of specificity, from

  • investigations of dietary habits and health in population cohorts, through
  • intervention studies in humans and animals and
  • analyses of the intestine and immune system, and also organs like adipocyte tissue, liver & brain, to pinpointing the impact of dietary influence on cells and potential functional molecular targets.

TORNADO will deliver data that can be used to recommend biomarkers for evaluating effects of diet or microbes; refute, substantiate or improve health claims of existing products; generate novel functional food products. TORNADO's approach of microbe-to-mouse-to-man validation of dietary influence will enable more solid evidence for health claims and provide concrete deliverables e.g. Roadmaps to Health, Tailor-made Health-monitoring.

Continuous state-of-the-art dissemination programs will increase impact. TORNADO's program will accelerate future design of personalized functional food for specific target groups. The evidence-based data delivered by TORNADO will have long lasting effects on health among European citizens well beyond 2012.