Investigating how food and gut microbes interact to promote health.

Our Food, Microbiome and Health research programme focuses on the relationships between plant-based foods and human health, through integration of nutrition and agri-food science, and understanding the microbiome within and beyond the gastrointestinal tract.

Poor diet accounts for 10 million (22%) of all adult deaths worldwide each year and in the UK costs the NHS £6 billion annually.

Plant-based foods can be deficient in essential nutrients, leading to a lack of key micronutrients. There is an urgent need to develop new foods that:

  • improve metabolic and gut health
  • tackle the societal challenge of poor diets low in plant-based foods
  • optimise nutrient bioavailability of plant-based diets.

Our research is developing and trailing new plant-based food and microbiome-based intervention strategies to increase healthy human lifespans.

We study interactions between plant-based foods, the gut and our health both in our state-of-the-art laboratories and through clinical studies.

Our researchers use food analytics, gastrointestinal tract simulation models, multi-cellular models and super-resolution facilities to learn more about the complex relationship between our food, gut and health.

Our Food, Microbiome and Health research aims to increase healthy lifespans by:

  • Determining macro and micro-nutrient bioavailability of nutritionally enhanced plant-based foods and factors that affect nutrient release.
  • Identifying patterns in the gut microbiome associated with plant-based foods, including microbes that might give resilience to food-borne pathogens
  • Learning how plant-based foods and food-induced changes in the gut microbiome affect human health beyond the gut, including understanding the gut-liver and gut-brain axis
  • Evaluating the efficacy of food and microbiome interventions in improving long-term health including through proof-of-concept human studies.

Academic Partners

Key Strategic Partners

A green background with an illustration of a gut full of microbes.
Narbad group

Arjan Narbad

Translational microbiome

Hazard group

Brittany Hazard

Improving the health impact of wheat starch

Cat Edwards Group

Cathrina Edwards

Optimising nutrient release from plant-based foods

Evelien Adriaenssens

Gut viruses & viromics

Warren Group

Fred Warren

Starch breakdown in the digestive tract

Hall Group

Lindsay Hall

Early life microbiota-host interactions

Martin Warren

Synthetic biology and biosynthetic pathways

Berazza group

Naiara Beraza

Mechanisms regulating the gut-liver axis during health and disease

Juge group

Nathalie Juge

Glycobiology of host-microbe interactions in the gut

fruit and vegetables

Paul Finglas

Food & Nutrition National Bioscience Research Infrastructure

Kroon group

Paul Kroon

Health benefits of dietary polyphenols

Carding group

Simon Carding

Gut microbes in health and disease

Stephen Robinson

Microbiota and vascular health


Targeting cancer


Targeting Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular Disease

Targeting food composition

Food Composition

Targeting Future Foods

Future Foods

Targeting IBD

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Targeting liver disease

Liver/lipid disease

Targeting ME/CFS

ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Targeting personalised nutrition

Personalised Nutrition

Targeting the understanding of the microbiome

Understanding the Microbiome

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