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Microbiology

We employ current molecular biology approaches such as genomics, proteomics, qPCR and RNAseq in combination with more traditional light and electron microscopy techniques

Understanding the role of microorganisms is fundamental to nutrition. The human gut microbiome is now regarded as a separate organ and microorganisms play pivotal roles in food production, food spoilage and foodborne illness.

We are actively involved with these topics via cross-cutting research themes with other NICHE groups as well collaborations with external organisations both nationally and internationally.

In particular we have extensive experience of the recovery of bacteria from different types of environments and of handling difficult to cultivate organisms in the laboratory.

We have published extensively on a variety of human pathogens whose laboratory cultivation is particularly challenging; obligate anaerobic bacteria (Clostridium botulinum and C. difficle); microaerophilic bacteria (Campylobacter and Helicobacter) as well as organisms that still cannot be cultivated in the laboratory (Cryptosporidium).

Our current research themes are based around understanding how environmental influences modulate antibiotic resistance transfer among foodborne pathogens, how bacteria associated with gastrointestinal colonisation construct and maintain biofilm-communities to enable persistence and how novel control methods could be employed to reduce microbial contamination in sensitive environments such as hospitals and food production facilities. We have actively engaged with industrial partners in both short and long-term projects supported via schemes such as the Innovation Vouchers, CAST awards, KTP projects etc. as well as direct consultancy contracts.

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