The Human Microbiome
Aiming to understand how gut bacteria contribute to health and disease
Aims of the research
The human gut is home to a complex microbial ecosystem, termed the gut microbiome, which has important roles in health and disease. Bacteria from the human microbiome can cause infections, particularly in patients that have weakened immune systems. The human microbiome can also contribute to the severity of diseases of the intestinal tract, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
In the IMI, we are developing and implementing novel technologies and computational tools to study the gut microbiome and other microbial ecosystems. Long-read nanopore DNA sequencing technologies are used to rapidly identify and characterise infectious agents present in microbiomes. We also aim to understand how opportunistic pathogens from the gut acquire resistance to antibiotics and whether the genes that are responsible for antibiotic resistance can spread between commensal and pathogenic bacteria in the human gut microbiome.
In close collaboration with clinicians, we study interventions, including faecal microbiota transplants, to positively modulate the gut microbiome with the aim to cure infections and other illnesses.Our research into the human microbiome will generate new insights into how bacteria successfully colonise the human gut and can contribute to human health or disease.