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Exploring and Exploiting Microbial Diversity


Exploring and Exploiting Microbial Diversity is a well-established and internationally recognised group, led by Professors Iain Sutcliffe and David Pearce. We are funded by charities, industry and research council grants. 

Our work is focused on exploring the diversity and ecology of the bacterial, fungal and viral communities in a range of clinical conditions and environments, including Extreme Environments and the ‘building microbiome’. This research is supported by our expertise in microbial genomics, metagenomics and molecular biology, which also have important applications in developing novel diagnostic methods, microbial systematics and taxonomy, and studies of the population diversity of pathogens. Diagnostic microbiology and studies of microbial cell envelopes are focussed on the mycolic acid-containing actinobacteria (corynebacteria, mycobacteria and rhodococci).  

Complementing this work is our research that exploits novel microbial enzymes, identified by comparative genomics and functional metagenomic approaches, as biocatalysts for green chemistry and for other biotechnological and bio-inspired/bio-design applications for systems biology. This work is fully integrated with that of our Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment, our BioDesign for the Bioeconomy MDRT, and commercialisation is driven by our Nzomics Biocatalysis innovation unit.    

Staff from our NU-OMICs genomics facility are members of the COVID-19 Genomics UK consortium (COG-UK). 


Our research is supported by biochemistry, molecular biology and -omics laboratories with extensive capacity for microbial cell culture. Key resources include: 

  • High throughput DNA sequencing platforms, including PacBIO (see NU-OMICS
  • Metabolomics & Proteomics facilities 
  • Bioinformatics infrastructure 
  • Pilot scale fermentation suite 

We welcome enquiries from potential doctoral or post-doctoral researchers, and other collaborators, interested in working with us.

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