Lawley Lab at the Wellcome Sanger Institute

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:

  • health
  • 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.

Core team

Photo of Hilary Browne

Hilary Browne

Staff Scientist

Photo of Matthew Dunn

Matthew Dunn

Senior Research Assistant

Photo of Dr Nitin Kumar

Dr Nitin Kumar

Senior Bioinformatician

Photo of Dr Junyan Liu

Dr Junyan Liu

Postdoctoral Fellow

Photo of Mark Stares

Mark Stares

Advanced Research Assistant

Photo of Dr Kevin Vervier

Dr Kevin Vervier

Senior Staff Scientist

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 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 Dr Elisa Viciani

Dr Elisa Viciani

Postdoctoral Fellow

Photo of Ana Zhu

Ana Zhu

Postdoctoral Fellow


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.



Loading publications...