Dr Molly Millar, PhD
Molly is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Trevor Lawley’s Laboratory with expertise in bacterial carbohydrate metabolism and investigating the genomic basis of bacterial phenotypes. Her research to date has utilised various microbiology methods including anaerobic culturing and metabolomics.
Molly’s research focuses on the functions and evolutionary stories of health-promoting commensal gut bacteria, in particular the Bifidobacterium genus. Molly led her doctoral research on the genomic and phenotypic variation, carbohydrate metabolism, and metabolite production of bifidobacteria which utilise dietary fibres. The mechanisms involved and the ecological impact of the interaction were investigated in the context of how bifidobacteria co-evolved with humans as microbial commensals key to human health from early life and into adulthood. New information in this field could aid in development of next generation therapeutics which utilises bacteria as health-promoting biological agents. Molly is interested in continuing microbial research with a focus on expanding expertise in bacterial genomics and translational research to leverage novel findings for improvement of human health, especially in vulnerable populations.
In addition to carrying out scientific research, Molly has twice participated in the world’s largest festival of public science communication, Pint of Science. Additionally, as part of Professor Lindsay Hall’s ‘Guardians of the Gut’ exhibit, a fully interactive giant walk-through model of the human gut, Molly was a scientific guide for adults and children through the exhibit, describing early life microbial colonisation and factors which stimulate Bifidobacterium growth. Molly was also an invited speaker for Cambridge Biomedical Campus Wellness Campaign to deliver a webinar on the health benefits of fibre intake and the importance of the gut microbiome.