Rocio Martin, R&D Director at Danone Nutricia Research Singapore, talks allergy biomarkers detection early in life, enhanced microbial start for c-section babies and future endeavours for research and innovation.


How is Nutricia Research exploring the science behind nutrition and health? Could you tell us about your presence in Singapore?


At Nutricia Research, we recognise that most of our consumers are particularly vulnerable. That is why we are committed to delivering high-quality product innovations backed by sound scientific evidence to the people who trust and rely upon them.


We have a global network of multidisciplinary teams, including the team in Singapore, that work together on cutting-edge science, taking nutritional concepts and translating them into physical products. By bringing together our extensive nutritional knowledge with input from healthcare professionals and academic institutions, as well as the latest scientific and technological thinking, we are able to develop nutritional innovations that answer real health needs.


Established in 2011, our satellite centre in Singapore comprises a unique group of about 50 scientists and experts from Asia and Europe who work across a range of different scientific disciplines, including microbiology, immunology, data science and digital innovation.


Our presence in Singapore has enabled us to connect closely to world-class scientific partners, research institutes and universities in Asia Pacific.


Are there any projects and collaborations in Singapore that you can share with us?


Nutricia Research is involved in a cohort from the GUSTO study (Growing Up in Singapore Towards Healthy Outcomes, Singapore’s largest and most comprehensive birth cohort study). This collaboration with A*STAR, the National University of Singapore and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital has provided new insights into potential microbial signatures associated with the development of early childhood allergies. This may offer further perspective on nutritional intervention strategies to manage the rising disease burden.


Infants delivered by caesarean section have delayed colonisation of beneficial bacteria (i.e. Bifidobacterium), and are more susceptible to developing allergies and obesity later on.


In a clinical study done together with Singapore’s KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and partnering with A*STAR, we found that our unique synbiotics compensated the delayed colonisation of Bifidobacterium in C-section-delivered infants and emulated the gut’s physiological conditions observed in healthy vaginally-born infants. The safety and efficacy data obtained in this study facilitated the registration of Nutricia’s novel synbiotics in Singapore.





Looking forward, what’s on the horizon for nutritional science and innovation?


Delivering high-quality, effective nutritional solutions is clearly our main goal. Still, we need to ensure we offer a superior consumer and patient experience while improving the way how we collect data and obtain scientific insights. Digital innovation offers great, new ways of engaging healthcare professionals and consumers/patients and increasing the level of effectiveness and satisfaction. We aim to provide comprehensive scientifically substantiated nutrition care by integrating digital tools, devices and tailored nutritional solutions.


We are currently looking into:

  • Digital-enabled data collection tools;
  • Clinical study efficiency and real-life follow-up study;
  • Big data analysis to get new insights and maximise output.


The future is to provide integrated nutritional and digital solutions that connect consumers, patients and healthcare professionals through the whole continuum of care, empowering all of us to further transform and improve health and well-being.


danone nutricia biopolis smart health 2



Interview with Rocio Martin, R&D Director, Danone Nutricia Research Singapore

We are Nutricia and we believe in the power of nutrition to make a positive and proven difference to health. Every day we are inspired by our purpose: to pioneer nutritional discoveries that help people live longer, healthier lives. Find out more about Danone Nutricia here.


Published in FOCUS Magazine — Issue #3 2017 “In the Pink of Health”




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