Immune Health

Using food and a focus on the microbiome to protect against respiratory illness

Our research focus

Diet, antibiotic use and stress are known to alter our gut microbiota, leading to reduced immune defence against respiratory tract infection. As populations age, they become more susceptible to poor respiratory health and air pollution has become a major health threat. Immune Health research is demonstrating the beneficial effects of New Zealand food and beverage products to build immune defence against influenza and pollution-driven respiratory inflammation. The team leverages existing New Zealand capabilities to develop the cutting-edge tools and methodologies needed to support the creation of food and beverage products with proven immune health claims, with a focus on consumers in China’s urban metropolises.


Dr Olivier Gasser

Olivier is the Translational Immunology Group Leader at the Malaghan Institute in Wellington and principal investigator of the Challenge Immune Health programme. His research interests lie in the bidirectional communication between the immune system and host metabolism, with a strong emphasis on the gut and its resident microbes.