Dr Lucy Crouch PhD

Dr Lucy Crouch

School of Biosciences

Contact details

Lucy is a glycobiologist and studies how gut microbes and pathogens use human-derived glycans as a nutrient source. Current projects include 1) looking at how infant-associated bacteria use glycans in breast milk and 2) how common human bacterial pathogens use mucins.

Lucy is part of the team at the Institute of Microbiology and Infection


PhD Biochemistry (University of Bristol)

BSc (Hons) Biochemistry (University of Bristol)


Lucy completed her PhD in the trans-membrane photosystems of purple bacteria in 2011. She went on to take up a post-doctoral research position into antibiotic efflux transporters at the University of Cambridge. She then moved to Newcastle University to continue as a post-doctoral research associate working on carbohydrate-active enzymes to increase efficiency of biofuel production and then into how gut microbes access their nutrients. She joined the University of Birmingham in 2020 to start her own independent research group.

Postgraduate supervision

If you are interested in joining the group please contact Lucy directly.


Humans have a mutualistic relationship with their gut microbiota; we provide them with nutrients and they contribute to our health throughout our lives. The human gut microbiota is affected by our diet and they influence the development and prognosis of many diseases. The development of a healthy gut microbiota is particularly important when we are very young. The bacteria in the human gut get their energy from carbohydrates, which come from dietary fibre, human glycans, and other microbes. Different species can also work together to break different carbohydrates down. The Crouch lab focuses on the degradation of N-glycans and O-glycans, predominantly from human glycoproteins, such as antibodies and mucins.

Other activities

Co-founder of the ‘European Glycoscience Community’ (EGC)

‘Bite of the apple’ speaker


1. Crouch L.I., Liberato M.V., Urbanowicz P.A., Baslé A., Lamb C.A., Stewart C.J., Cooke K., Doona M., Needham S., Brady R.R., Berrington J.E., Madunic K., Wuhrer M., Chater P., Pearson J.P., Glowacki R., Martens E.C., Zhang F., Linhardt R.J., Spencer D.I.R. and Bolam D.N. (2020) Prominent members of the human gut microbiota express endo-acting O-glycanases to initiate mucin breakdown. Nature Comms. 11, 4017.

2. Briliūte J., Urbanowicz P.A., Luis A.S., Baslé A., Paterson N., Rebello O., Hendel J., Ndeh D., Lowe E.C., Martens E.C., Spencer D.R., Bolam D.N. & Crouch L.I. (2019) Complex N-glycan breakdown by human gut Bacteroides involves an extensive degradative apparatus housed in multiple co-regulated genetic loci. Nature Micro. In Press.

3. Guo B.S., Zheng F., Crouch L.I., Cai Z.P., Wang M., Bolam D.N., Liu L. & Voglmeir J. (2018) Cloning, purification and biochemical characterisation of a GH35 beta-1,3/beta-1,6-galactosidase from the mucin-degrading gut bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila. Glycoconj. J. 35 255-63.

4. Liu J., Friebe V.M., Swainsbury D.J.K., Crouch L.I., Szabo D.A., Frese R.N. & Jones M.R. (2018) Engineered photoproteins that give rise to photosynthetically-incompetent bacteria are effective as photovoltaic materials for biohybrid photoelectrochemical cells. Faraday Discuss. 207 307-327.

5. Labourel A., Crouch L.I., Bras J.L.A., Jackson A., Rogowski A., Gray J., Madhav Y.P., Henrissat B., Fontes C.M.G.A., Gilbert H.J., Najmundin S., Baslé A. and Cuskin F. (2016) The Mechanism by which Arabinoxylanases can Recognise Highly Decorated Xylans. J. Biol. Chem. 291 22149-22159.

6. Forsberg Z., Nelson C.E., Dalhus B., Mekasha S., Loose J.S., Crouch L.I., Rohr A.K., Gardner J.G. and Vaaje-Kolstad G. (2016) Structural and Functional Analysis of a Lytic Polysaccharide Monooxygenase Important for Efficient Utilization of Chitin in Cellvibrio japonicas. J. Biol. Chem. 14 7300-12

7. Crouch L.I., Labourel A., Walton P.H., Davies G.J. and Gilbert H.J. (2016) The Contribution of Non-catalytic Carbohydrate Binding Modules to the Activity of Lytic Polysaccharide Monooxygenases. J. Biol. Chem. 14 7439-49

8. Hernandez-Gomez M.C., Rydahl M.G., Rogowski A., Morland C., Crouch L.I., Labourel A., Fontes C.M., Willats W.G., Gilbert H.J. and Knox J.P. (2016) Recognition of xyloglucan by the crystalline cellulose-binding site od a family 3a carbohydrate-binding module. FEBS Lett. 589 2297-303.

9. Gardner J.G., Crouch L.I., Labourel A., Forsberg Z., Bukhman Y.V., Vaaje-Kolstad G., Gilbert H.J. and Keating D.H. (2014) Systems biology defines the biological significance of redox-active proteins during cellulose degradation in an aerobic bacterium. Mol. Microbiol. 94 1121-1133.

10. D’Haene S.E., Crouch L.I., Jones M.R. and Frese R.N. (2014) Organisation in photosynthetic membranes of purple bacteria in vivo: the role of caraotenoids.  BBA-Bioenergetics. 10 665-731

11. Sznee K., Crouch L.I., Jones M.R., Dekker J.P. and Frese R.N. (2014) Variation in supramolecular organisation of the photosynthetic membrane of Rhodobacter sphaeroides induced by alteration of PufX. Photosynth. Res. 119 243-256

12. Tan S.C., Crouch L.I., Mahajan S., Jones M.R. and Welland, M. (2012) Increasing the Open Circuit Voltage of Photoprotein-Based Photoelectrochemical Cells by Manipulation of the Vacuum Potential of the Electrolytes. ACS Nano. 6 9103-9109

13. Tan S.C., Crouch L.I., Jones M.R. and Welland, M. (2012) Generation of Alternating Current in Response to Discontinuous Illumination by Novel Photoelectrochemical Cells Based on Photosynthetic Proteins. Angew. Chemie. Int. Ed. 51 6667-6671

14. Stahl A.D., Crouch L.I., Jones M.R., Stokkum I., Van Grondelle R., and Groot M.L. (2012) Role of PufX in Photochemical Charge Separation in the RC-LH1 Complex from Rhodobacter sphaeroides: An Ultrafast Mid-IR Pump-Probe Investigation. J. Phys. Chem. 116 434-444

15. Crouch L.I. and Jones M.R. (2012) Cross-species investigation of the functions of the Rhodobacter PufX polypeptide and the composition of the RC-LH1 core complex. BBA-Bioenergetics. 1817 336-52.

16. Holden-Dye K., Crouch L.I., Williams C.M., Bone R.A., Cheng J., Böhles F., Heathcote P. and Jones M.R. (2011) Opposing structural changes in two symmetrical polypeptides bring about opposing changes to the thermal stability of a complex integral membrane protein. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 505 160-70

17. Crouch L.I., Holden-Dye K. and Jones M.R. (2010) Dimerisation of the Rhodobacter sphaeroides RC-LH1 photosynthetic complex is not facilitated by a GxxxG motif in the PufX polypeptide. BBA-Bioenergetics. 1797 1812-1819 

18. Frolov D., Marsh M., Crouch L.I., Fyfe P.K., Robert B., van Grondelle R., Hadfield A. and Jones M.R. (2010) Structural and Spectroscopic Consequences of Hexacoordination of a Bacteriochlorophyll Cofactor in the Rhodobacter sphaeroides Reaction Center. Biochemistry. 49 1882-1892

19. Holden-Dye K., Crouch L.I. and Jones M.R. (2008) Structure, function and interactions of the PufX protein. BBA-Bioenergetics. 1777 613-630