I graduated from Leeds University with a BSc in Microbiology. I then moved to Cardiff University and obtained a PhD in microbial metabolism of xenobiotic compounds. After a short postdoctoral position in the Biochemistry department of Cardiff University I joined the Institute of Food Research, Norwich in 1989 and have worked on a number of industrially funded biotechnology projects on the engineering of lactic acid bacteria and yeast for production of novel food ingredients and antimicrobials.
Currently I am the translational microbiome group leader at the Institute where my research is focused on understanding the role of gut bacteria in health and disease of humans and animals.
My group has developed probiotic bacteria for reducing the levels of foodborne pathogens such as Campylobacter from the food chain. I have worked on the relationship between gut microbiota and specific gastrointestinal disorders; IBS and Ulcerative Colitis. In collaboration with clinicians at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital my group is actively involved in setting up a bacteriotherapy service for the treatment of Clostridium difficile infections, and are exploring how the exploitation of new technologies could be used to improve the diagnosis of gastrointestinal infections.
I have published more than 100 research papers and have filed 9 international patents. I have been appointed a Visiting Professor at Jiangnan University in China and have recently established a BBSRC funded UK-China joint centre for research on probiotics.