The INITIALISE annual meeting (Naples, 7th-8th March 2024)

The INITIALISE annual meeting took place in Naples on the 7th and 8th of March 2024. The results from the first year of INITIALISE was presented and next steps were discussed.

One major piece of news was that the GENOS d.o.o. (Croatia) joined the consortium via amendment, as a widening partner (hop-on facility). GENOS is the global leader in glycomics and will be contributing glycomics analyses to INITIALISE. A major topic of discussion during the meeting was about how to best utilize this new opportunity.

Since the start of the project, now in second year, all the milestones have been achieved. These include getting the analytical platforms ready and designing the initial multi-omics studies. All of the participating cohorts are now finalizing the shipments of samples for the analyses.

INITIALISE already contributed to important new findings linking early-life exposure to future health outcomes. A major discussion topic was the Scottish Advanced Fetal Research (SAFeR) study, which studies how various exposures impact foetal development. A major paper has already been published for this cohort in Lancet Planetary health, focusing on how in utero exposures to perfluoroalkyl substances affects the human fetal liver metabolome. The meeting also featured a presentation by Angelica Ahrens, who presented recent work in ABIS cohort, linking gut microbiome and metabolome with future neurodevelopmental disorders, which was recently published in Cell.

Finally, the start of the planning for the clinical trial which will form part of INITIALISE was discussed. A working group was formed which will look into this further and decide which is the most promising intervention to use for this trial.