Daniel Vipond – Myalgic Encephalopathy

Daniel Vipond – Myalgic Encephalopathy

Norwich, Norwich Research Park

What do you do?

I’m a PhD student doing patient funded research into Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) at the Quadram institute. One of my favourite parts of working here is meeting the people that work in research, I don’t know of any other example where you can meet so many people from different parts of the world in one place. It adds variety and interest, which is so important for any line of work.

Patients that suffer from ME are usually constantly very tired leaving them unable to do work but can also show symptoms like light, noise, or touch intolerance. We believe there is definitely a biological cause behind the disease, which has sometimes been disputed. We do know that patients have gut disturbances. Establishing what is present in the gut, especially what ‘good’ bacteria there are, was the first place to start. We have used 16s ribosomal RNA (a type of DNA found in ribosomes) sequencing to get an exact microbial fingerprint of the microbiome of patients. This should help to understand the differences between ‘normal’ gut bacteria and ME patients. Another promising discovery is that immune system seems to be wrongly recognising or targeting bacteria in the gut, suggesting a disturbance in the gut wall.

What can you see?

An experimental set up of the human gut. Each pot section has a different culture medium (the conditions for the bacteria), replicating each stage of the gut from stomach to intestine. No rules to what you could do with this anything you could think of you could try.

When I’m not in the lab I…

I spend my time working with the police as a special constable volunteer. It’s so different to being in the lab, it’s all about meeting people, diversity is key for me.