Studying cells to improve fish health

 In a series of short interviews we introduce the people who are involved in our Centre for Research-based Innovation, Foods of Norway.

Peng Lei has a PhD in Physiology and has previously been working with immunology as a post doc at the University of Oslo. 

What do you do in Foods of Norway?

I am in charge of the in vitro screening model establishment, in another words I work with cells instead of animals.

The aim is to develop the in vitro model for screening potential bioactive components from the novel animal feed. The main focus is the health benefit of the components, more specifically the immunoprotective function.

In this way, we can screen a large number of components in a very short time so that we can minimize animal usage by testing only the functional ingredients.

Meanwhile, since the cell growth environment is much easier to manipulate, we can pinpoint specific genes or pathways which could have an impact on the immune response of the animal due to the feed.

Peng Lei works with cell cultures from fish that has been fed new, sustainable diets developed by Foods of Norway.

Photo
Gunn Evy Auestad

What do you like about your work in Foods of Norway?

I appreciate working with people from different backgrounds. In the centre we have nutritionists, whose focus is on whether the novel feed ingredients will be as good as the commercial diets in terms of food intake, food efficiency, etc. They answer the questions yes or no, and I work on how and why. So our work is quite complementary.

Also, our industrial partners give us ideas how to translate the research into practical applications. I am a pragmatist, so I am happy to see how we could help with problems in real life.

What do you want to accomplish in Foods of Norway?

I hope I can successfully establish the model and gain evidence that the in vitro results could give pointers for the animal trials.

Hopefully, we can also use more species, for instance pig and chicken as well, to make comparisons by using the same feed ingredients. By doing that, we could investigate the mechanisms behind the beneficial effect of the feed ingredients in different species, and see if they work in a similar or different way.

This will give us a better understanding of how we choose the novel functional feed ingredient.

Published 6. July 2018 - 9:38 - Updated 6. July 2018 - 15:40