Dr Hilary Browne

Senior Staff Scientist


This person is a member of Sanger Institute Alumni.

Hilary left the Sanger Institute in 2024. He was awarded an ERC Starter Grant and is now a Senior Lecturer and Group Leader at the School of Microbiology, University College Cork and APC Microbiome Ireland.

Hilary is a Senior Staff Scientist in Dr. Trevor Lawley’s Laboratory with expertise in anaerobic microbiology and bacterial genomics. His research has established techniques to culture gut bacteria at scale, enabling detailed analysis of gut microbiome phenotypes. Hilary currently leads a screening programme to identify therapeutic gut bacteria with anti-pathogen activity.

Hilary’s current research leverages the large culture collection he and others in the team have developed to identify beneficial gut bacteria with therapeutic potential. Our intestinal microbiota is highly adapted to repel and inhibit pathogens. Having access to large curated culture collections of whole-genome sequenced gut bacteria allows screening of novel gut bacteria for anti-pathogen activity.

Hilary’s research has also revealed the importance of spore-forming bacteria in the human intestinal microbiota. Spore-formation is prevalent in the human gut and provides a means for anaerobic bacteria to transmit effectively between people. A major interest for Hilary is to understand the ecology and evolution of intestinal spore-forming bacteria, how they differ functionally from non-spore-forming bacteria and how spore-formation promotes transmission of anaerobic bacteria between individuals.


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