BSc (Vienna), MSc (Vienna), PhD (Vienna)
- Postdoctoral Affiliate
Dr Verena Stoeger is a nutritional scientist working at the interplay of molecular nutrition and physiological chemistry. During her PhD studies at the University of Vienna, Dr Stoeger identified together with Professor Veronika Somoza that gastric acid secretion in vitro is preferably modulated by large bitter-tasting L-amino acids after activation of extra-oral bitter taste receptors. In addition, a patent was filed for the satiety-enhancing effect in healthy humans induced by the bitter-tasting L arginine. As a PhD visiting fellow Dr Stoeger investigated in the Neurogastroenterology group (Professor Gareth Sanger, Queen Mary University London) the influence of L arginine on gastric motility in human stomach biopsies. Moreover, binding interactions of L arginine to bitter taste receptor 1 were assessed by Dr Stoeger after building a receptor model at the Computational Taste Lab (Professor Masha Niv, Hebrew University of Jerusalem).
For these research stays abroad, Dr Stoeger was granted several PhD fellowships like the Short-term grants abroad (Universit of Vienna), the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) or the EU COST action Multi-target paradigm for innovative ligand identification in the drug discovery process (MuTaLig).
As a research associate at the Bioelectronic Systems Technology group headed by Professor Róisín Owens, Dr Stoeger studies the influence of nutrition on host-microbiome interactions in a bioelectronic 3D model of the human gut. This advanced in vitro gut model has been developed to improve the current understanding of the gut microbiome in humans, which is limited due to existing models. An increasing body of evidence demonstrates that short-chain fatty acids synthesized by certain commensal gut bacteria from dietary fibre induce health-promoting effects in humans. Among them is the protection of a functional intestinal barrier for which mechanisms of action are only incompletely understood. Thus, a closer in vivo performance of this 3D gut model is validated by comparing short-chain fatty acids induced effects with in vivo evidence. An in-depth understanding of host-microbiome interactions in humans will serve as a highly valuable strategy in the prevention of the development of associated diseases (e.g. diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease) through the intake of certain nutrients.