We are covered with a complex microbial community, known as our microbiota, which plays important roles in our physiology, immunity, metabolism and sustenance. Within the human gastrointestinal tract alone there are over 1,000 bacterial species, which amounts to approximately 10 times more cells than we harbor in our entire body and 200 times more genes than are found within our genome. We are really a 'supraorganism' consisting of our 'human' and 'microbial' selves.
Remarkably, the majority of microbes found within our microbiota have not been cultured, nor described. This is a major limitation for phenotypic and mechanistic studies to understand the basic functions of our microbiota in determining the host's health or disease status. We still have a lot to understand about ourselves and the functions of our human genome in controlling our surroundings in terms of our microbiota. Investigating and understanding these situations raise the possibility that targeting the restoration of a dysbiotic microbiota back to a healthy population mix by using defined formulations of health-associated bacteria could protect against, or treat, certain diseases.
The team investigates host-microbiota interactions linked to:
- early life colonisation
- the effects of antibiotic treatment
- imbalances and effects of infection and autoimmune diseases.
The goals of these lines of research are to identify avenues for therapeutic invention to restore microbiota homeostasis.
Dr Trevor Lawley
Trevor's research investigates the mechanisms that underlie how micro-organisms on mucosal surfaces (gut, nasopharnyx, uro-gential tract) interact with their host during periods of health and disease. In particular he seeks to develop novel ways to treat diseases that are associated with unwanted imbalances in the micro-organism communities.
Previous team members
The Microbial Pathogenesis team, under the leadership of Professor Gordon Dougan, focused on the genetic analysis of the interactions between ...
Programmes and Facilities
Open Targets is an innovative, public-private partnership that uses human genetics and genomics data at large scale for systematic drug target ...
The Group has several productive internal and external collaborations including those with Professor Fiona Powrie's Group at the University of Oxford, Professor Brendan Wren's Group at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Professor Neil Fairweather's Group at Imperial College London, Open Targets, Arthur Kaser and Matt Zilbauer at the University of Cambridge, Life Study, Lindsay Hall at the University of East Anglia, Alan Walker at the University of Aberdeen, Prof. Ed Kuijper at Leiden University Medical Centre, as well as close interactions with several NHS hospitals and the Health Protection Agency reference laboratories within the UK and abroad.