Microbial science

We are investigating new treatments to fight infection and disease, finding innovative solutions to the threat of antimicrobial resistance, and manipulating the microbiome to enhance respiratory and nutritional treatments for disease. 


Key investigator: Prof Robert Read

Professor Read is director of the centre and theme lead for microbial science, conducting research into infectious diseases, with a particular focus on meningitis and influenza.

Read more

Fighting antimicrobial resistance

Timothy Leighton

The global rise in ‘superbugs’ resistant to antibiotics and antimicrobials threatens to take medicine back to a time when infections associated with injury, disease or birth were untreatable and deadly.

Building on the success of the £0.85m EPSRC Network for Antimicrobial Resistance, Infection and Prevention (NAMRIP) led by Leighton, we are using engineering to develop solutions. These include rapid precision diagnosis, the use of smartphone applications, infection prevention, vaccine development and non-antibiotic treatments.

Modifying the microbiome

Sarah Ennis

In recent years, it has become apparent that the bacteria which naturally reside in our body – the microbiome – play a critical role in disease development and prevention. We are investigating how modifications to the respiratory and gut microbiomes could help to prevent and treat disease.

The respiratory microbiome

We are studying whether modifications to the respiratory microbiome could prevent asthma in children and improve antibiotic treatment in cystic fibrosis patients.

Working with Astra Zeneca, we are researching how COPD patients develop a microbial imbalance. And we are working to identify `protective` microbiomes that could be used for future prevention and treatment.

The gut microbiome

We are using a probiotic nutritional supplement to modify the gut microbiome, with the aim of improving outcomes in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and boosting the immune systems of elderly care home residents.

We are investigating the role of the gut microbiome in inflammatory bowel disease, and how consideration of the gut microbiome could be used to personalise treatment and improve outcomes following bariatric surgery.

Lastly, we are investigating the affect of the diet and gut microbiome of pregnant women on childhood obesity.