Canada has amongst the highest rates of immune-mediated diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, in the world. The vast majority of these diseases have no known cure. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies that improve clinical outcomes in these patient groups are urgently needed. Additionally, there are large differences between patients in response to various medical and dietary therapies, which challenges a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach to clinical care.

My research focuses on expanding our knowledge of host-immune-microbe interactions, with a specific focus on identifying host (i.e., diet) and microbial factors involved in different responses to medical and dietary therapies. By better understanding individualized response to treatments, we can move towards developing and using personalized therapeutic programs to improve patient outcomes.

We use various digital health technologies and ‘multi-omics’ techniques (i.e., metagenomics, metabolomics, metaproteomics) to explore the role that dietary intakes and the microbes residing in the gastrointestinal tract play in changing the response to therapy.


Utilizing the gut microbiome as a biomarker of response to dietary interventions in inflammatory bowel disease: moving toward precision nutrition
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Genelle R Lunken
DOI: 10.1016/j.ajcnut.2024.01.022

Gut microbiome and dietary fibre intake strongly associate with IgG function and maturation following SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination
Genelle Rose Lunken and Liam Golding and Alana Schick and Abdelilah Majdoubi and Pascal M Lavoie and Bruce Andrew Vallance
DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2022-328556

Gut microbiome-associated predictors as biomarkers of response to advanced therapies in inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review
Gut Microbes
Susanna Meade and Jeremy Liu Chen Kiow and Cristian Massaro and Gurpreet Kaur and Elizabeth Squirell and Brian Bressler and Genelle Lunken
DOI: 10.1080/19490976.2023.2287073

Highly Sensitive, Flow Cytometry-Based Measurement of Intestinal Permeability in Models of Experimental Colitis
Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Tsai, K. and Ma, C. and Han, X. and Allaire, J. and Healey, G.R. and Crowley, S.M. and Yu, H. and Jacobson, K. and Xia, L. and Priatel, J.J. and Vallance, B.A.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2022.10.004

User testing to modify the MyHealthyGut digital health application for inflammatory bowel disease
Digital Health
DOI: 10.1177/20552076231203664

User testing to inform modification of the MyHealthyGut digital health application in inflammatory bowel disease
DOI: 10.1101/2023.03.23.23287648

Curated and harmonized gut microbiome 16S rRNA amplicon data from dietary fiber intervention studies in humans
Scientific Data
DOI: 10.1038/s41597-023-02254-4

Correction: Genomic insights from Monoglobus pectinilyticus: a pectin-degrading specialist bacterium in the human colon (The ISME Journal, (2019), 13, 6, (1437-1456), 10.1038/s41396-019-0363-6)
ISME Journal
DOI: 10.1038/s41396-023-01419-8

Variability in mRNA SARS-CoV-2 BNT162b2 vaccine immunogenicity is associated with differences in the gut microbiome and habitual dietary fibre intake
Genelle R. Healey and Liam Golding and Alana Schick and Abdelilah Majdoubi and Pascal M. Lavoie and Bruce A. Vallance
DOI: 10.1101/2022.08.24.22279143

Genelle R. Healey and Kevin Tsai and Daniel J. Lisko and Laura Cook and Bruce A. Vallance and Kevan Jacobson
DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.02.429403

Therapeutic advances in gut microbiome modulation in patients with inflammatory bowel disease from pediatrics to adulthood
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Eindor-Abarbanel, A. and Healey, G.R. and Jacobson, K.
DOI: 10.3390/ijms222212506

An inulin-type fructan enriched exclusive enteral nutrition formula modulates the gut microbiome and promotes expansion of anti-inflammatory T cell subsets to suppress colitis
Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Prebiotic Enriched Exclusive Enteral Nutrition Suppresses Colitis via Gut Microbiome Modulation and Expansion of Anti-inflammatory T Cells in a Mouse Model of Colitis
Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Healey, G.R. and Tsai, K. and Schick, A. and Lisko, D.J. and Cook, L. and Vallance, B.A. and Jacobson, K.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2021.06.011

Fiber and Prebiotic Interventions in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease: What Role Does the Gut Microbiome Play?
Genelle R. Healey and Larissa S. Celiberto and Soo Min Lee and Kevan Jacobson
DOI: 10.3390/nu12103204

Genomic insights from Monoglobus pectinilyticus: a pectin-degrading specialist bacterium in the human colon
DOI: 10.1038/s41396-019-0363-6

Habitual dietary fibre intake influences gut microbiota response to an inulin-type fructan prebiotic: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over, human intervention study
British Journal of Nutrition
Genelle Healey and Rinki Murphy and Christine Butts and Louise Brough and Kevin Whelan and Jane Coad
DOI: 10.1017/S0007114517003440

Inflammatory bowel disease and immunonutrition: novel therapeutic approaches through modulation of diet and the gut microbiome
Celiberto, L.S. and Graef, F.A. and Healey, G.R. and Bosman, E.S. and Jacobson, K. and Sly, L.M. and Vallance, B.A.
DOI: 10.1111/imm.12939

Interindividual variability in gut microbiota and host response to dietary interventions
Nutrition Reviews
Healey, G.R. and Murphy, R. and Brough, L. and Butts, C.A. and Coad, J.
DOI: 10.1093/nutrit/nux062

Variability in gut microbiota response to an inulin-type fructan prebiotic within an in vitro three-stage continuous colonic model system
Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibre
DOI: 10.1016/j.bcdf.2017.07.001

Validity and Reproducibility of a Habitual Dietary Fibre Intake Short Food Frequency Questionnaire
DOI: 10.3390/nu8090558

Influence of habitual dietary fibre intake on the responsiveness of the gut microbiota to a prebiotic: Protocol for a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over, single-centre study
BMJ Open
Healey, G. and Brough, L. and Butts, C. and Murphy, R. and Whelan, K. and Coad, J.
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012504

The link between breast milk, infant faecal and maternal faecal microbiota.
Proceedings of the Nutrition Society of Australia


The effect of dietary modulation on fungal and viral communities in the gastrointestinal tract
We plan to determine whether various dietary components, including food additives, dietary fibres, and polyphenolics, impact the composition and functional capacity of the virome (viruses) and mycobiome (fungi) in healthy individuals and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients. Diet has a profound impact on the gut microbiome (collection of microorganisms in the gut), however, the vast majority of research to date only focuses on the modulating capacity of diet in the context of the gut bacteria. Additional research is therefore needed to elucidate the impact diet has on shaping the viral and fungal communities within the gut. This is particularly important as recent research has established that the virome and mycobiome are likely implicated in the development and management of immune-mediated conditions such as IBD.

Therapeutic efficacy and gut microbiome modulating capacity of a fibre-enriched exclusive enteral nutrition strategy in pediatric Crohn’s disease
In this translational research project we aim to conduct a randomized controlled trial to determine whether enriching exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) with fibre will prevent gut microbiome dysbiosis (imbalance) and enhance disease outcomes compared to a fibre-free EEN formula. Additionally, we will determine whether there is a gut microbiome signature, and/or specific dietary components associated with EEN response and/or sustained remission.


Weston Family Microbiome Initative – “Effect of supplemented toddler diets on the gut microbiome and its association with neurodevelopmental outcomes” – $300,000 over 2 years – Co-investigator (2022-2024)

Weston Family Microbiome Initative – “Characterizing the gut microbiome in patients during COVID-19 infection” – $125,700 over 2 years – Co-investigator (2020-2022)

Weston Family Microbiome Initative – “Leveraging the gut microbiota in treatment refractory epilepsy” – $150,000 over 2 years – Co-investigator (2019-2021)

Honours & Awards

Michael Smith Health Research BC Trainee Award – 2018-2022

People’s Choice Best Poster Award – IMPACTT Canadian Microbiome Symposium – 2021

Best Presentation Award – Canadian Digestive Disease Week – 2021

Trainee Prize for Abstract Submission – Canadian Digestive Disease Week – 2021

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment PhD Scholarship – New Zealand Government – 2014-2017

Research Group Members

Areej Altaf, Research volunteer
Cristian Massaro, Masters student