Meet our Fellows: Parkash Singh Rawat

May 17, 2024

Title of the project: Identification of hydrogen sulphide producing gut bacteria implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (GUT-MS-H2S)

Description of the project:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating, inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system. Despite decades of research, the exact aetiological factors of MS and treatment guidelines have not adequately been defined. Various studies implicate gut inflammation, induced by a neurotoxic bacterial metabolite, hydrogen sulphide (H2S), in the pathogenesis of MS. However, the specific gut bacteria and their enzymatic machinery, involved in the production of H2S in situ have not been characterised. This project aims to identify these gut bacteria and their H2S-producing enzymes. Moreover, increased gut H2S levels are correlated with a reduction in butyrate (a neuroprotectant) production by gut microbiota. Hence, we also intend to measure the levels of these two microbiota-derived metabolites (H2S and butyrate) in the MS-specific brain and faeces. This integrative project, involving meta-transcriptomics, metabolomics, protein characterization, and MR spectroscopy, will provide prospective biomarkers for MA pathogenesis and prospective therapeutic targets for MS treatment/prevention.


Parkash Singh Rawat received the Ph.D. degree from Shandong university in 2023. His research interests and experimental expertise are in the fields of gut microbiology, ecology, and enzymology. He has consistently implemented these themes during his Ph.D. research. Specifically, he developed skills in large-scale functional screening of gut bacteria and data mining and analysis in the field of gut microbiota. In enzymology, he has experience of the biochemical characterisation of polysaccharide lyases derived from various gut bacteria. He conducted a large-scale functional screening (in vitro and in silico) of gut bacteria for the presence of specific enzymatic genes. He gained extensive experience in cloning and heterologous protein expression, which significantly honed his expertise in genetics and enzymology and advanced his skills in mRNA biology (Transcriptomics, RT-PCR, RT-qPCR), bioinformatics, and data mining. Additionally, he gained experience in using HPLC to separate metabolites and reaction components.

Nationality: India

VUB department and supervisor:

Prof. Guy Nagels, AIMS research group, Center for Neurosciences

Starting date: 15 May 2024