tablet screen showing a digital gut model

Inside the World of the Gut Microbiome

For the gut microbiome, which includes countless bacteria, viruses, and fungi living in our intestines, the abdomen constitutes a complete ecosystem. The gut microbiome has attracted a great deal of attention in scientific research in recent years. Diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, and autism have been linked to the gut microbiome. Some companies see big opportunities in this robust field.

In recent years researchers have made exciting discoveries that established a link between the gut microbiome and several diseases including cancer, autoimmune disorders, and autism. A young engineer saw a huge opportunity in the humblest form – human stool. Together with his friends, Johan Bruun Hartmann formed Unseen Bio to study the feasibility of linking these latest scientific findings about the gut microbiome with personalized health optimization via research on human feces.  

Using next-generation gene sequencing and metabolic modelling, the founders of Unseen Bio are building a digital twin of the gut microbiome to extrapolate the composition of an individual gut microbiome from a stool sample. The digital gut model can then serve as a foundation for continuous tracking of changes in the gut microbiome and for personalized health recommendations.  

The big plan for the digital gut

Based in Denmark, Unseen Bio is already offering its services in Europe. However, Hartmann has set his sights on the world. He can see Unseen Bio developing into a major global player. He has drawn up a blueprint for the development not only of Unseen Bio, but of the field of the gut microbiome.  

Johann Brun Hartmann, the expert regarding gut microbiome
Johann Bruun Hartmann

“The future milestones in the gut microbiome field will start with a series of incremental scientific breakthroughs that will acknowledge the importance of gut microbiome; for example, some specific bacteria are linked to cancer,” Hartmann told Supertrends in an interview. “The next step will be choosing a digital gut model as a standard tool. Hopefully, it will be our model. Then come personalized health recommendations based on the digital gut model. Finally, the hardware – some kind of smart toilet – will be developed for autonomous monitoring and support.” 

Challenges Ahead

By way of explanation, Hartmann shared a sample of the digital gut developed by Unseen Bio. This consists of map of gut bacteria, visualized in the form of a family tree. Selected microbes were classified into beneficial, opportunists, and bad microbes. The richness and evenness of the microbiome are also analyzed and compared with those of healthy cohorts. In the end, generic microbiome beneficial recommendations were given to optimize the microbiome. The interactive report provides a sense of interacting with the world of the gut microbiome and the possibility of future microbiome control and improved health.   

Although Hartmann is confident that his company is on to something big, he acknowledges that all startups face challenges, especially innovative startups: “We are currently at a pre-seed stage. We are working to achieve our proof of concept and creating traction. Our goal is to reach the seed round in one year.”  


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© 2021 Supertrends

Gut Microbiome, Digital Health, Gut Health, Digital Twins, Personalized Health


Jiqing Hansen

Having worked passionately for 15+ years in Medicine, I felt that I yearned to do something a little bit different, something that satisfies my curiosity and creativity, maybe something that helps to inform me and others what our world will look like in the future. That's when I took on the challenge of being the editor & expert relationship manager at Supertrends. I love the fact that I can still be in touch with my academic background when I am trying to understand and reach out to the experts in the most exciting fields. I also love the diverse and enthusiastic team at Supertrends. The best of all, I get to have a peek into the future, and I am at the position of helping many others to get the opportunity to look into the future.

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