Introduction to QI and our four research areas

Welcome to the Quadram Institute: The Quadram Institute wants to change understanding of how food in the microbiome can affect our health. Our work focuses on how changes in the gut can lead to conditions such as obesity and dementia.

Microbes in the Food Chain: We are looking to reduce the problems caused by microbes in the food chain by delivering an enhanced understanding of the ecology, evolution and survival strategies of pathogens, including the drivers of antimicrobial resistance.

Gut Microbes and Health: We want to change understanding of how food in the microbiome can affect our health. Our work focuses on how changes in the gut can lead to conditions such as obesity and dementia.

Food Innovation and Health: Central to our mission is understanding how individual foods and diets can help us maintain and to improve our health, and to develop innovative foods that can further promote health and healthy ageing.

Population Health: We are seeking to integrate our experimental research programme with public health, population biology and health economic approaches, to work out how outputs from our research can be tailored to different population groups or even to the individual.

Research Topics

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR): The Quadram Institute is helping in the global battle to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) by gaining new knowledge and understanding of how resistance arises, and how resistant bacteria survive and are transmitted in the food chain.

Faecal Microbiota Transplants for treatment of serious infection: Quadram Institute microbiologists have collaborated with clinicians at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) to develop and implement a successful new treatment for recurring Clostridium difficile infections.

The COVID-19 Genome Detectives: The Quadram Institute, the Norwich Research Park and the UK research sector are leading the way in rapid large-scale SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing to help stop the spread of the virus behind the Coronavirus pandemic.

TraDIS-Transposon Directed Insertion Site Sequencing: Using TraDIS-Xpress the genes involved in bacterial growth in diverse conditions can be quickly identified and compared. TraDIS-Xpress is just one of a number of very powerful cutting-edge technologies being developed at the Quadram Institute

Optimising nutrient release from plant-based foods: How research at Quadram Institute is focused on understanding how the structure of plant-based foods is broken down during digestive transit to release nutrients.

Food Databanks: Managing data on the composition of foods eaten in the UK. As well as providing the nutritional information for food labelling, these data underpin research into the links between diet and health at the Institute.

Mechanisms regulating the gut-liver axis during health and disease: Investigating the mechanisms that regulate communication between the liver and the gut and how this maintains metabolic health. In particular, she is interested in bile acids, which as well as helping to digest fats also play a role in maintaining a healthy population of gut microbes. This helps to maintain gut health, which has a strong influence on liver health.

Improving the health impact of wheat starch: Could you get white bread that’s just as good for you as whole meal bread?

Bacterial Genomics and Metagenomics: How research aims to harness microbial genomics, metagenomics, bioinformatics and synthetic biology to understand how microbes evolve, spread, survive and compete in the food chain.

Starch breakdown in the digestive tract: Studying starch to better understand how the breakdown of this complex carbohydrate impacts on our health. By working with plant breeders to exploit natural variation in crop plants, and changing how starch is processed into foods, it’s possible to alter how starch is digested by the body.

Food structure, colloids and digestion: How food structure effects digestion and appetite. The aim is to understand how the structure of food affects how it is digested. This may influence how foods affect our health, by changing appetite or by providing nutrients for our gut bacteria. With this information, it may be possible to design new foods with health benefits.

Early life microbiota-host interactions: Understanding the role that the early life microbiota plays in regulating immune responses, during health and in diseases such as IBD, to help in the design of new therapies.

Investigating the evolution of antimicrobial resistance: The evolution of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in bacteria. By understanding how bacteria become resistant, we can design better practices to minimise the risk of new resistance developing and develop better ways of treating or preventing bacterial infection.

Translational microbiome research and FMT: The aim of this research is to understand ways in which we might be able to manipulate gut microbes to prevent infection and combat disease.

Combatting coffee fraud: Researchers from the Quadram Institute have developed a new technique to distinguish between superior Arabica coffee and cheaper, lower quality Robusta.

Combatting mozzarella fraud: Scientists from the Quadram Institute on the Norwich Research Park have developed a test that differentiates between buffalo and cow’s milk, and between the cheeses made from them.

Other video

The PEARL study: Researchers at the Quadram Institute are looking to enrol pregnant mothers who are less than 22 weeks pregnant to take part in The PEARL Study (Pregnancy & Early Life) to understand how the transmission of beneficial microbes from mother to baby affects health. See

A journey through Simon Carding: Prof. Simon Carding, research leader at the Quadram Institute, swallowed a small pill shaped camera. Dr Jo Brooks talks us through the journey undertaken by the camera and explains the benefits and limitations of the PillCam.

Meet the Guardians of the Gut: Dr Lindsay Hall from the Quadram Institute talks you through the Hall Lab’s giant interactive gut at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2018