Lawley Lab

Host-microbiota interactions

The Host-Microbiota Interactions Lab explores the relationship between humans and their microbiome- the community of microorganisms that live on and in us. The team focusses on gut bacteria and viruses and their influence in long-term growth, development and disease resistance of children from Westernized and Low- and Middle-Income countries.

Humans are colonised by diverse, highly adapted microorganisms that co-evolved beneficial interactions and functions to promote human health, development and disease resistance. Microbiota acquisition starts at birth and recent evidence suggests microbiota assembly increases microbial diversity and functions that parallel immune system development and regulation in the rapidly growing infant. Disruption of maternal transmission by C-section and antibiotic exposure around birth is associated with a higher incidence of infections, AMR pathogen colonization and immune-related disorders in children.

The Host-Microbiota Interactions Lab (HMIL) is studying maternal transmission and microbiota assembly in infants and linking beneficial bacteria and functions to key immune, metabolic and cognitive milestones in a child’s development. The lab is interested in identifying beneficial microbes and functions that can be used to optimize and nurture the longer-term growth, development and disease resistance of babies from Westernized and Low- and Middle-Income countries.

The HMIL uses large-scale genomic studies, anaerobic microbiology and experimental models for biological discovery. The HMIL generates large-scale publically available genomic resources and bacterial culture collections and innovates metagenomic technologies and microbiological methods to drive biological discovery to enable the translation of the human microbiome.

Areas of research

The team investigates host-microbiota interactions in early-life linked to:

  • microbiome assembly
  • pathogen colonisation resistance
  • symbiosis and bacterial interactions
  • immune, metabolic and cognitive development
  • virome and resistome

The HMIL aims to identify beneficial microbes and functions that can be used to optimize and nurture the longer-term growth, development and disease resistance of babies from Westernized and Low- and Middle-Income countries.

Core team

Photo of Dr Hilary Browne

Dr Hilary Browne

Senior Staff Scientist

Photo of Mr Nicholas Dawson

Mr Nicholas Dawson

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Dr Nitin Kumar

Dr Nitin Kumar

Senior Bioinformatician

Photo of Dr Junyan Liu

Dr Junyan Liu

Postdoctoral Fellow

Photo of Dr Andre Mu

Dr Andre Mu

Senior Bioinformatician

Photo of Dr Timothy Rozday

Dr Timothy Rozday

Senior Bioinformatician

Photo of Dr Yan Shao

Dr Yan Shao

Staff Scientist

Photo of Mr Mark Stares

Mr Mark Stares

Technical Specialist

Previous team members

Photo of Blessing Anonye

Blessing Anonye

PhD Student

Photo of Dr Julia Maryam Arasteh

Dr Julia Maryam Arasteh

Postdoctoral Fellow

Photo of Matthew Dunn

Matthew Dunn

Senior Research Assistant

Photo of Giulia Falivelli

Giulia Falivelli

Postdoctoral Fellow

Photo of Dr Samuel Forster

Dr Samuel Forster

NHMRC CJ Martin Biomedical Fellow

Photo of Dr Anne Neville

Dr Anne Neville

Postdoctoral Fellow

Photo of Dr Fernanda Schreiber

Dr Fernanda Schreiber

Postdoctoral Fellow

Photo of Ms Caroline Tigoi

Ms Caroline Tigoi

Visiting Worker

Photo of Dr Kevin Vervier

Dr Kevin Vervier

Senior Staff Scientist

Photo of Dr Elisa Viciani

Dr Elisa Viciani

Postdoctoral Fellow

Photo of Ana Zhu

Ana Zhu

Postdoctoral Fellow

Partners

The Group has several productive internal and external collaborations including those with 

External

Baby Biome Study

Baby Biome Study is a large-scale UK birth cohort study and biobank that aims to to understand how interactions between microorganisms, the immune system, and clinical, social, and behavioural factors during pregnancy and early life influence later health and disease

External

CHAIN network

The CHAIN network aims to identify the biological mechanisms and the socio-economic factors that determine a child’s risk of mortality in the six months following presentation to medical care with an acute illness in resource-limited settings.

External

Wellcome Trust

External

Gates Foundation

External

Kathy McCoy

University of Calgary, Canada

External

Sam Kariuki

Acting Director General Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and Honorary Faculty at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

External

Nigel Field

University College London

External

Chris Stewart

Newcastle University

External

Gregorio Iraola

Sanger International Fellow based at Institut Pasteur Montevideo, Uruguay

 

Publications

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