How microbes interact with their hosts plays an important role in human and animal health. Especially the microbes in the gut are of crucial importance. We are interested in how these microbes affect human and animal health. Research includes important human and animal pathogens but also focusses on microbes and nutrition and their role in food security.

Adaptation of microbial eukaryotes to low oxygen, as found in the gut for example, featured in several high impact publications (Nature (2003) 426, 172-176Current Biology (2008) 18, 580-585, Current Biology (2014) 24, 1176-1186 and PLoS Biology (2017) 15(9) e2003769) and included major human pathogens such as Giardia intestinalis, Entamoeba histolytica and Blastocystis. We hope that understanding their unusual biochemistry might lead to new drug targets. 

Food security research focuses at biochemistry and genomics of several important livestock and fisheries pathogens such as Aphanomyces and Fasciola hepatica. Aphanomyces causes two notifyable diseases: crayfish plague (click here for a recent publication) and epizootic ulcerative syndrome in fish while Fasciola causes liver fluke in cattle and sheep. A project with the National Lobster Hatchery and Cefas focuses on the role of the gut microbiome on lobster health. As part of this work, we were the first to describe a new pathogen of European Lobster (see here).

Together with colleagues at Sports and Health Sciences and our Medical School we study how fruit and vegetables improve health and cognition as it is becoming increasingly clear microbes in our alimentary tract play crucial roles in health (see for example our involvement in Free Radic. Biol. Med. (2018) 124, 21-30.)

Our lab uses a variety of techniques to answer our research questions. Molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics and next-generation sequencing methods are routinely used.