UCL News


Volunteer to take part in GutBack - a study looking at the effect of travel on gut bacteria

12 January 2016

If you are planning to visit the tropics for at least two weeks, volunteer to take part in a new study investigating how gut bacteria changes after travelling to the tropics.

GutBack study

People travelling to the tropics are exposed to new environments where they may come across bacteria and other micro-organisms they have not encountered before. These might be in the food they eat or by contact with people and environmental surfaces that carry these organisms. 

At UCL Infection & Immunity and UCLH, in collaboration with Public Health England, we are studying how travelling to the tropics affects the normal bacteria that people carry in their intestines. We will be using novel, DNA-based techniques to explore in much greater detail how the bacteria change after travel, what factors affect the likelihood of acquiring certain bacteria, and the presence of antibiotic resistance in gut bacteria.

Our aim is to find out how common resistant bacteria are, and whether travelling in certain countries, or having antibiotics during or shortly after travel, makes them more common; also how long they persist in the GI tract after returning to the UK.

If you agree to take part, a research nurse will first explain the study and answer any questions you may have. We will then ask you to answer a few simple questions about your travel and your medical history before, during and after your trip. Stool samples will be also be required at each of these stages. To take part, contact Cristina Fernandez Turienzo: c.turienzo@ucl.ac.uk.

This study has been approved by the NHS Research Ethics Committee, project ID: 15/LO/1858.

Cristina Fernandez Turienzo, Research Nurse 
UCL Infection & Immunity