The best available evidence suggests that 15% of Australians are affected by irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). My team’s research has broken new ground in developing dietary strategies for treating chronic intestinal diseases such as IBS. Our work has provided a highly effective diet strategy for patients with IBS: the Low FODMAP diet, underpinned by substantial evidence. As a result, diet – a notoriously overlooked and undervalued medical intervention – has been adopted as a first-line management therapy, which we have ‘translated’ and ‘delivered’ to health professionals and patients globally through development of a smartphone app. Dietitians worldwide are using our research to demonstrate the value of diet therapy to treat common intestinal disorders, thereby enhancing their own professionalism .
While thousands of people have already benefitted from our pioneering research, we now need to capitalize on this innovation by extending it into other areas. With my team I have built the foundations to extend the FODMAP diet into the treatment of other bowel disorders ranging from treating infantile colic to chronic inflammatory bowel disease.. To fully understand the efficacy of dietary interventions, more knowledge is needed on the role of other bioactive food chemicals (natural salicylates, acetate) we will also explore the use of novel gas-sensing technology to further understand the role of diet and bacteria in the gut. A closely related aim for this Fellowship lies in broadening translation efforts. This will involve developing new diet therapies emerging from my team’s research, designing an online training course for dietitians, and adapting the Monash University Low FODMAP diet app to the international environment. Our group’s recognized expertise and strong links with clinicians and scientists around the world place this project on solid foundations, and make us eminently suited to delivering on the promise of diet as the long-lost pillar of medical