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Nicholas Ilott

Senior researcher and lead bioinformatician for the Oxford Centre for Microbiome Studies

host-microbe interactions in inflammatory bowel disease

Since completing an MRC career development fellowship in Oxford with the Computational Genomics Analysis and Training (CGAT) group in 2014 I have been working in Professor Fiona Powrie's research group to explore the role of the gut microbiome in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). I predominantly utilise high-throughput methods including RNA-seq, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics and metabolomics in models of colitis to drive hypotheses about how changes to the microbiome and the host relate to each other in terms of disease onset and progression.

I have become increasingly interested in the interplay between the liver and the gut and how a breakdown in these interactions may contribute to the development of diseases such as primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and associated IBD. To understand this disease better I have been working closely with Dr Alessandra Geremia to profile a human PSC cohort in terms of intestinal gene expression and the microbiome, which is opening up additional research avenues in this disease.  I am currently leading a study into the dynamics of the gut-liver axis in PSC-UC. More information can be found at the DYNAMHIX in PSC webpage.

In addition to my role in Professor Powrie's group I am also a bioinformatics lead for the Oxford Centre for Microbiome Studies (OCMS). In this role (and along with all of the OCMS team) I am responsible for the provision of support to researchers across the university and nationally who require expertise in microbiome experiments and data analysis. This has led to the development of multiple collaborative projects that aim to identify changes to the microbiome across a diverse set of disease states and/or treatment strategies.