GROWTH Network

The GROWTH consortium, funded by the European Commission (2019-2023), is made up to train a new generation of researchers working on new pathological insights, biomarker diagnostics and personalized nutritional interventions for intestinal failure in neonates and preterm infants.


Academic and industry partners, covering various disciplines ranging from fundamental research to clinical paediatrics and analytical chemistry to organoid and gut-on-chip applications, have teamed up in the European Union.

Research Programme

GROWTH aims to set-up a new European platform that trains young scientists in the industry-led exploration of innovative routes to fully exploit the potential of early life nutrition to prevent inflammatory disease. GROWTH coordinates 8 individual research projects.


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State-of-the-art air analysis station installed at AMC.

Patients and healthcare professionals have observed that feces often smell abnormal during gastrointestinal disease, thus identification of volatile organic compound (VOC) biomarkers from stool offer the potential for developing a method for rapid diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases. Surprisingly little is known about volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in the gut. The diagnostic and health implications of most of these compounds remain to be explored. In the GROWTH programme we aim to analyse fecal VOCs in neonates. Fecal VOC profile analysis will be conducted using this robust set-up developed by Owlstone Medical (see photo below). This odour sensing method is based on pattern recognition algorithms, mimicking the mammalian sensory system. Pilot data have shown that fecal VOC profiles could serve as an early, pre-clinical non-invasive diagnostic biomarker for necrotizing enterocolitis and neonatal sepsis. VOC profiles differed from controls up to 3 days prior to disease onset.