Working methodology

To achieve the expected results and to be able to reach the objectives that ThinkGut proposes, several actions have been proposed:


Clinical and biological collection of information on microbiota-cognition interrelationships and the development of biological models of systems for the gut-brain axis.

This action, focused on the biomedical objective, provides for the creation of a cross-border anonymised repository which, based on data compiled from more than 1700 subjects, will develop multi-scale systems biology models for the gut-brain axis in mice and humans. Most of the tasks associated with this action are carried out by IDIBGI, with the support of INSERM in the collection of the data and models and, of Enterosys in everything related to the exploitation of the repository’s IPR.


Creation of microbiome-based tools for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of neurocognitive disorders associated with aging and obesity.

This action, focused on fulfilling the biotechnological objective, aims to generate diagnostic-therapeutic tools based on the microbiome. These tools may include bacterial profiles as new biomarkers, the identification of new mathematical models that offer a clinical interpretation of biomarkers and models in humanised mice.

INSERM is in charge of evaluating the impact of the microbiota on animal models and bacterial DNA sequences, performing and quantifying them, resulting in new biomarker profiles. On the other hand, Enterosys is in charge of cellular and molecular analyses of neurons in the enteric nervous system, as part of the intestinal-brain axis in animal models. To develop this action, the IDIBGI’s function is to work together with the two associated entities in cognitive phenotyping. The results will give rise to one or two tools for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of neurocognitive disorders associated with aging and obesity.


Training of inter/multidisciplinary specialists in microbiota-cognition interrelations in the cross-border territory.

This action, focused on the fulfilment of the formation objective, aims to train interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary specialists in the relationships between microbiota and cognition in the territory where the project is developed. The formative courses will rely on the solid knowledge and scientific and interdisciplinary vision of the IDIBGI and INSERM institutes. They will also have a non-academic perspective, focusing on a business approach that will be carried out by Enterosys.

To implement the training objective of the project, at least two doctoral theses will be developed, co-directed by IDIBGI and INSERM, and two postdoctoral research stays at IDIBGI and INSERM, one of which will also be partially carried out at Enterosys. At the same time, at the university level, the ThinkGut project will also involve university postgraduate and undergraduate students doing internships, master’s theses or undergraduate dissertations. Similarly, the ThinkGut project will also be disseminated at informational meetings organised by IDIBGI for high school and vocational training programmes.

Apart from the actions mentioned in the previous paragraphs, ThinkGut also includes two more actions aimed at the tasks of project management and communication.

European Regional Development Fund

The ThinkGut project, co-financed at 65% by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Interreg V-A Spain-France-Andorra Programme (POCTEFA 2014-2020), has a total budget of 1.3 million euros.