We are the Clostridia Research Group (CRG) at The University of Nottingham.
Nigel Minton moved from the Health Protection Agency to Nottingham in 2004 specifically to establish the Clostridia Research Group (CRG) which exclusively focuses on improving scientific understanding of the biology of Clostridium. The CRG aims both to develop more effective countermeasures (diagnosis, prevention & treatment) against pathogens and to exploit the medical and industrial properties of beneficial strains, specifically in cancer therapy and biofuel production. He is programme leader of one of the six research hubs of the newly created BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre.
Klaus is a microbiologist with a longstanding interest in bacterial physiology and metabolism. His current research focuses on the biology of pathogenic and non-pathogenic clostridia, in particular in vivo metabolism and cell-to-cell communication. In collaboration with Nigel Minton, he is using metabolic engineering and synthetic biology approaches to optimise butanol production in cellulolytic bacteria.
Alan's main area of interest is in bacteria virulence mechanisms in Gram positive bacteria. He is particularly interested in metal ion uptake systems and their regulation and most recently has been working on the roles of Fur and PerR in Clostridium difficile.
Sarah has been working within the health component of the Clostridia Research Group for over 6 years. She is interested in the pathogenesis of Clostridium.difficile, mainly focusing on regulation of toxins, sporulation and germination. Through the Biomedical Research Unit (BRU) Sarah is involved in translational projects, paving the way for new and better diagnostics and therapeutics. Projects include engineering of the native human gut micro-flora to prevent Clostridium.difficile disease. She also works on certain beneficial Clostridia strains, using these harmless bacteria as anti-cancer drug vehicles.
Ying did her Ph.D in Microbiology at the University of Nottingham. She began working on protein engineering in the Antimicrobial Research Group in 2006 then joined the Clostridia Research Group in 2010. Her main interests are clostridial metabolism and fermentation products.
Michelle joined the CRG in June 2009 having previously worked on type II diabetes. Currently Michelle is working on an EU-funded project to understand the physiological basis of ‘hypervirulence’ in Clostridium difficile. The programme of work is focussed on modulation of gene function through genetic approaches and the subsequent comparative analysis of the strains generated in various in vitro and in vivo assays.
Kati has been working as a Postdoctoral Reseach Fellow for the past three years at The University of Nottingham Plant Sciences Division. She moved to the Clostridia Research Group in July 2009 where she is currently working on the Second generation, sustainable, bacterial biofuels programme of the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre. Within this project, she applies synthetic biology and metabolic engineering approaches to create biofuel producing clostridial strains able to utilize various cellulosic substrates.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Katrin joined the Clostridia Research Group in April 2009 to work on the Second generation, sustainable, bacterial biofuels programme of the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre to optimize clostridial strains for the utilization of various cellulosic compounds.
Muhammad has been working as a technician in Professor Minton's lab for more than a year before starting his PhD in August 2009. In 2006-07, Muhammad graduated with an MSc in Applied Biomolecular Technology from The University of Nottingham. During his PhD, he worked on the exemplification of allelic exchange methods ie. Allele Coupled Exchange (ACE) and in-frame deletion using negative selection markers pyrE and codA in Clostridium acetobutylicum. Currently, he is working as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow on the Second generation, sustainable, bacterial biofuels programme of the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre. In this project, he applies the synthetic biology and genetic engineering approaches to maximise the production of the biobutanol production from C. acetobutylicum.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Chris joined the CRG in October 2009 having previously graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in Biochemistry. His PhD was concerned with the generation of safer strains of Clostridium botulinum which may be deployed by the food industry to improve food safety.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Ola has been working on Clostridial-Directed Enzyme Prodrug Therapy (CDEPT), a novel form of cancer therapy, in which clostridial spores are used as a tumour-specific delivery vehicle for therapeutic agents. Prior to joining the CRG in 2009 as a PhD student, Ola obtained her degree in Environmental Protection from the University of Lodz, Poland, before successfully completing an MSc in Biotechnology from the University of Ghent (Belgium).
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
In October 2009 Gareth joined the CRG having graduated from the University of Sheffield with an MBiolSci in Biochemistry and Microbiology. The fourth year of his degree was a research project on the isolation of microalgae for the production of biodiesel. The aim of his PhD here at Nottingham is to isolate and exploit Clostridia species with improved butanol production properties.
Sarah joined the CRG in 2010 following her graduation from the University of Nottingham with a degree in Biotechnology. Her current project is concerned with the introduction of novel metabolic pathways into cellulolosic Clostridium spp. using Synthetic Biology.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Lili is a Biochemistry graduate from the University of Bristol and joined the CRG in October 2009 to undertake a PhD concerned with Biofuels. His focus is geobacillus, where he seeks to develop the necessary genetic tools to allow metabolic engineering as a means to improve and expand product yields.
Hengzheng graduated in 2008 from the Ningbo Institute of Technology, Zhejiang University (China) with a BSc in Bioengineering, before successfully completing an MSc in Applied Biomolecular Technology at the University of Nottingham. She joined the CRG in October 2009 where she is developing and exploiting novel gene systems for determining the metabolic bottlenecks in biobutanol production in Clostridium acetobutylicum.
Wafaa completed her BSc degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences at King AbdulAziz University in KSA before embarking on a Masters degree in Molecular Medical Microbiology at the University of Nottingham. In 2010 she joined the Clostridia Research Group as a PhD student. Her research is focused on the characterization of the oxidative stress response in Clostridium difficile and understanding the function of PerR regulator.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Having completed a BSc in Biochemistry at the University of York, Ben started work as a PhD student in the CRG in October 2010. As part of the second generation, sustainable, bacterial biofuels programme of the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre, his project involves the engineering of C. acetobutylicum for the utilisation of lignocellulose.
Nimit joined the Clostridia Research Group in 2010 after graduating from the University of Leicester with a Bsc (Hons) in Biological Sciences. Nimit's PhD involves isolating Small RNAs (sRNAs) within Clostridium difficile, sRNAs are a type of non coding RNA species which could be involved in the regulation of genes.
Tom completed his BSc in Biochemistry at Bristol University in the summer of 2011, having also been a member of the award winning BCCS-Bristol iGEM team in 2010. His PhD concerns the regulation of quorum sensing pathways in C.botulinum.
Patrick is a PhD student currently working on looking into possible drug options which can be utilised in the CDEPT strategy for cancer therapy. He graduated from the University of Leeds in 2008 with a BSc in genetics. After working for 2 years in veterinary histology he decided to go back to education and completed an MRes in Advanced Genomics and Proteomic Sciences at the University of Nottingham.
Eric Liew joined the CRG group in November 2011. Prior to that he was working for LanzaTech for 3 years. He received his BTech (Hon) and MSc from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His PhD project focuses on the development of genetic tools for gas eating Clostridia.
Wouter is working on the Second generation, sustainable, bacterial biofuels programme of the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre. He is a molecular biologist with an interest in metabolic engineering and related fields. During his PhD he worked on Clostridium acetobutylicum with Dr. Ana Lopez-Contreras at the A&F institute (now FBR) of Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR). Working both on genetic method development, metabolic engineering, and batch fermentation. He then continued to work with the same organism at the Laboratory of Microbiology (WUR) to develop a metabolomics protocol before joining CRG in January 2012. Currently, Wouter is working on generating new Clostridia strains with advantages properties such as high butanol production and selectivity.
Louise joined the CRG in April 2012 and is new to Clostridia research. She is a graduate of Dublin City University, Ireland and has a degree in Biotechnology. Previously Louise has worked in proteomics, stem cell research and automation of cell culture. Her role will be to support industrial biotechnology projects within the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre.
Wan Yee joined CRG in May 2012. Before this, she worked at the Institute of Food Research, Norwich after completing an MSc in Biotechnology at the University of East Anglia. Her research experience includes the studies of integrated biology of gastrointestinal tract and bacterial spore germination. She is currently working to develop a novel process for the production of specific chemical molecules from renewable feedstock.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Jon gained his PhD working on Staphylococcus aureus with Dr Julie Morrissey at the University of Leicester Genetics Depart, investigating both the genetic basis of metal regulation and copper resistance. He then moved to work in the yeast laboratory of Professor Annette Cashmore where he examined copper protein regulation and expression in pathogenic fungi before joining CRG in June 2012. Jon is currently working to develop a novel process for the production of specific chemical molecules from renewable feedstock.
Niall joined the Clostridial Research Group as a PhD student in 2011, as part of the CLOSTNET research programme. His current work involves the study of phosphotransferase systems (PTSs) in the invasive pathogen, Clostridium difficile, and the role that they play in sugar uptake and toxin expression in Clostridium difficile.
Andrew graduated from the University of Leeds with a BSc (hons) in Microbiology and shortly after, began working as a microbiologist at the Centre for Research into Environment and Health in Leeds. Here Andrew worked on a number of projects concerning the microbial pollution of drinking and recreational bathing waters, with the aim to develop new water treatment strategies and a real time, predictive model of fluxes of fecal indicator organisms in coastal bathing waters. Andrew joined CRG in April 2012 as a technician and began his PhD in October 2013. He is currently working in Clostridium difficile research, primarily on the effects of the novel macrocyclic antibiotic, fidaxomicin, on spore germination and outgrowth.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Kelly joined the CRG in July 2012 from the University of Sheffield, where her research interests during her PhD and a Post Doc position included the use of carbon monoxide as an anti-microbial and microbial detoxification of gaseous molecules such as nitric oxide. She is currently working on the use of a particular species of Clostridia for the sustainable production of important industrial chemicals.
Alex joined the CRG in January 2012 for a masters internship coming from the Ecole Superieure de Biotechnologie (ESBS) in Strasbourg. He worked on the application of the mariner-transposon in the butanol producer Clostridium acetobutylicum. After getting his double degree in biotechnological engineering and environmental sciences he decided to stay in the CRG for a PhD to further develop the transposon in several Clostridial species and using this tool, and others to engineer the strains with the aim to increase butanol production.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Hello my name is Emma! I gained my PhD at the University of Exeter in 2013. My project focused on understanding both host and bacterial factors that play a role in Clostridium difficile infection. I have developed skills in clinical data analysis, bioinformatics as well as expertise in working with the anaerobe C. difficile. Prior to my PhD I have gained valuable molecular genetic laboratory skills, through my undergraduate and Masters degree courses, working with various micro-organisms.
Florence joined the CRG as a PHD student in 2013. She graduated from the University of York with a BSc(hons) in Biology, in 2012. Her dissertation involved an original independent research project concerning development of yeast cells, through novel gene mutations, which can withstand higher external ethanol concentrations, whilst maintaining ethanol production, viability and growth rate. During her PHD she will be working as part of the GASCHEM group on optimising industrial gas fermentation to produce low carbon fuels and other fine chemicals currently obtained from crude oil.
Micky obtained a BSc (hons) in Microbiology from Cardiff University, which included an industrial placement year at Renishaw Diagnostics Ltd where she helped in the development of a novel diagnostic for bacterial and viral infections. Micky joined CRG in October 2013 to study for a PhD regarding the treatment of Clostridium difficile in a joint venture with Phico Therapeutics Ltd, using phage technology.
Ed graduated from the University of Exeter in 2012 with a BSc (Hons) in Molecular Biology; his final year research project involved the generation and characterisation of Clostridium.difficile mutants. He then undertook an MSc byResearch in Biosciences which focussed on investigating the effect of mutations in the lipoprotein biosynthesis pathway of Clostridium.difficile and the expression of enzymes from this pathway in E.coli . Award of this degree is expected in 2014. Ed joined the Clostridia Research group in October 2013 to undertake an MRC Doctoral Training Partnership PhD which aims to utilise mariner transposition and next generation sequencing to identify novel therapeutic targets.
Pete joined the ClosTron team as a PhD student in 2013, having graduated from the University of Manchester with a BSc in Biotechnology. He has prior industrial experience optimising heterologous protein production in Aspergillus niger for AlerGenetica, and joins the GASCHEM team to help produce sustainable low-carbon fuels and chemicals from Clostridia gas fermentation
Lorna joined the Clostridia Research Group in 2013 after graduating from the University of Essex with a Bsc (Hons) in Biomedical Sciences. She has previous clinical research experience in Clostridium.difficile with sponsors Pro-Lab Diagnostics during her placement at Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust towards the evaluation of a novel molecular test to determine toxigenic capabilities in GDH positive Toxin negative samples. Lorna's PhD focuses on understanding the genetics of Clostridium.difficile sporulation/germination and relapse as part of the Biomedical Research Unit in Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases at Nottingham.
Natasha graduated from Keele University with a BSc (Hons) degree in Applied Biomedical Sciences, and then became a registered Biomedical Scientist, achieving a Specialist Diploma in Medical Microbiology. After working in the NHS for 4 years, she studied for an MSc in Clinical Microbiology at the University of Nottingham, where she investigated the oxygen tolerance of Clostridium.difficile and the use of florescent reporter genes. For her BRU funded PhD she is continuing research on C. difficile, focusing on the molecular basis of sporulation and germination regulation. A significant portion of the project involves the characterisation of C.difficile strains in patients that suffer relapse, with an aim to establish the causes of such cases.
Patrick joined the CRG in October 2013 after graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a BSc (Hons) degree in Biotechnology. His PhD focuses on identifying the mechanisms which control the germination of Clostridium.difficile spores through the isolation and characterisation of germination mutants.
Bart studied molecular microbiology and science education at the University of Groningen in the North of the Netherlands. His master research was about the microbial ecology and molecular genetics of Ralstonia solanacearum and his thesis about Education of Evolution in secondary schools. He was a teacher at the Grammar School of Leeuwarden where he taught Biology, Chemistry and Science. After 7 years of teaching molecular biology it was time to practice molecular biology. In 2013 he joined the Clostridia Research Group as a PhD-student on the Gaschem project where he focuses on molecular physiology and genetics of Clostridia species that are able to grow on carbon monoxide or on a mixture of Carbon monoxide, Carbon dioxide and Hydrogen (synthesis gas).
Kamila holds a degree in biology, an MSc in human genetics and PhD in molecular reproductive endocrinology. She has worked at The University of Nottingham in the Division of Animal Sciences as Postdoctoral Research Fellow for last several years. Her interests covering aspects of molecular endocrinology, biology of reproduction and genetics of fertility with study subjects ranging from bees to cattle. She joined the CRG to work on synthetic biology of clostridium and butanol production.
Hanson joined the CRG in April, 2013 and is new to Clostridia research. He obtained an MSc in Industrial microbiology from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He worked at the same University, within the division of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, where he was involved in the evaluation of microbial contents of pharmaceutical preparations and products. After working for seven years, he decided to further his studies at the University of Nottingham. His PhD seeks to understand how metabolism controls toxin formation in Clostridium difficile through the functional application of mass spectrometry-based metabolomics platform.
Sharla joined CRG in October 2013. She completed her MSc in Molecular Microbiology from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand in 2008, characterising C. jejuni and C. coli found in New Zealand using MLST, PFGE and flaA-RFLP. Since then she has worked in clinical and research laboratories in New Zealand, Ireland and England identifying and characterising a wide variety of microbes including archaea such as Methanobrevibacter ruminantium. She is currently working to develop a novel process for the production of specific chemical molecules from renewable feedstock.
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Sam joined the CRG in October 2013 having previously worked at the University of Sheffield, where her main research interests involved investigating the response of enterobacteria to carbon monoxide and molecules that cause nitrosative and oxidative stress. She is currently working on a project that involves the optimisation of industrial gas fermentation for commercial low-carbon fuel and chemical production through systems and synthetic biology approaches.
Thomas is a physicist with a longstanding interest in dynamic modelling of complex systems focusing on their responses to various environmental changes. After he did his PhD in Theoretical Physics, he moved to the newly established Group of Systems Biology & Bioinformatics at the University of Rostock. Here, Thomas began to investigate the cellular adaptation to changing environmental and intracellular conditions, including signal transduction, genetic, proteomic, and metabolic regulation, using mathematical models. Additionally, he developed methods for systems identification, data analysis, and data processing. Since several years, he has been focusing on the systems biology of microorganisms, in particular the bacteria Clostridium acetobutylicum and Bacillus subtilis and the Baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisia. He joined the Clostridial Research Group in October 2013. Thomas is currently working on the model-supported optimization of the synthetic gas fermentation in Clostridium ljungdahlii.
Georgina joined the CRG in October 2013 as a PhD student with CASE partnership to Green Biologics. She graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a BSc (Hons) in Biology and spent a year of her degree researching and studying at Texas Tech University, USA. Her research abroad focused on bat gut biomes and for her final year project she worked with a novel expanded bed bioreactor. Here at the CRG she will be working on the use of forward and reverse genetics to select Clostridium strains more tolerant to biobutanol and cellulosic feedstock inhibitors.
Craig studied at Imperial College London completing a BSc. and ARCS in Biology. In his final year he did a research project developing a biosensor to tackle schistosomiasis.
Michelle achieved her BSc in Applied Biomedical Science in 2008 and has four years experience working as a Specialist Biomedical Scientist after completing a Diploma in Clinical Microbiology. During her time working in a clinical microbiology laboratory a 6 month secondment to the research department became available where she developed a multiplex PCR for the detection of enteric viruses in infants and helped optimise a respiratory virus real-time PCR. She started her PhD in 2012 as part of the BRU project and is looking at toxin regulation in C. difficile using mariner transposition and allelic exchange with the addition of characterising clinical strains in relapsing patients.
Ronja graduated from the University of Rostock with a Masters degree in Microbiology and Biochemistry, in 2013. In her Master thesis she characterized a phosphotransacetylase (PTA). During her PhD she will be working as part of the GASCHEM group where she focuses on molecular physiology of Clostridia species that are able to grow on Carbon monoxide/dioxide and Hydrogen. Her special interest lies in the metabolic pathways used by these organisms
Pawel joined the CRG in October 2013 after graduating from Uppsala University with an MSc in Applied Biotechnology. His masters thesis project dealt with re-designing carbon fixation in cyanobacteria through synthetic pathways. As a PhD student, Pawel is a member of the GASCHEM group that seek to improve the capabilities of gas fermentation in Clostridial strains, with the intention of producing low carbon fuels.
Emily graduated from the University of Leicester with a BSc in Biological Sciences (Physiology with Pharmacology). Following this she worked within the food industry at a chemistry laboratory before joining the Clostridia Research Group in October 2013. Emily is currently working on the use of a particular species of Clostridia for sustainable production of important industrial chemicals.
Christian joined the CRG in September 2013. He graduated from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) with a BSc in Biotechnology. Following this he studied an MSc in Advanced Biotechnology in the same institution. In his Master thesis he dealt with design a production and purification process for alpha-galactosidase in yeast. As a PhD student, he is going to be working with Ralstonia eutropha.
Having graduated from the University of Nottingham in December 2013 with a BSc (Hons) in Biology, Rob joined the CRG in May 2014 to do his PhD as part of the BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) with the University of Nottingham. Having started the DTP in September 2013, Rob completed several lab rotations which saw him working in the CRG and at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire. Rob is currently engineering strains of Geobacillus to produce advanced alkane biofuels as part of the RICEFUEL programme.
Ryan received his Bachelors Degree in Microbiology from the University of Huddersfield, and his Masters from The University of Leeds. Between these two periods, Ryan worked in bioprocess, firstly for the University of Leeds protein expression facility, operating fermentors at pilot scale, then subsequently performing research for a venture capital funded startup and a global biopharmaceutical company. Working for the Clostridia Research Group as part of The University of Nottinghams DTP program, Ryan is interested in taking a systems biology approach to synthetic strain development and bioprocess design, in order to enhance production yields of biobutanol from saccharolytic Clostridium spp.
Jamie graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2005 with a BSc (Hons) in Applied Biology. He then worked as an ecotoxicoligist before returning to the university in 2009 as a research technician within the institute of genetics, investigating the use of Schmidtea mediterrania as a model system for a small molecule drug screen programme. More recently he has held positions in both research and teaching at the University of Nottingham veterinary school. Jamie joined the CRG in 2013. He is interested in toxin production, sporulation, germination and outgrowth ofClostridium difficile, and is currently working with novel antibiotics and their effects on spore germination and outgrowth.
Robert graduated from the University of Nottingham with a BSc in Biochemistry & Genetics in 2013. Prior to the commencement of his PhD program he completed a broad variety of research placements across the University, including assignments within the Faculty of Engineering and the School of Life Sciences. During his PhD he is working to increase butanol titres of industrially relevant clostridium species capable of metabolising gaseous C1 compounds.
Having joined the group as a Research Technician in 2012, James began his PhD project in May 2014, working to improve production of C4 chemicals in acetogenic clostridia. His particular interest is in gas-fermenting clostridia, which are able to capture carbon from industrial waste gases. Previously, he completed an MSc in Biotechnology at the University of East Anglia.
Oliver Jack Severn is a Ph.D. student working on quorum sensing in Clostridium acetobutylicum. This is extended as experimentation into the use of acetobutylicum for biotechnological use. The work incudes; genetic manipulation, metabolic analysis, and a large number of molecular methods with a number of bacterial species. He is jointly funded by the BBSRC and the University of Nottingham.
Jennifer graduated from The University of Nottingham with BSc Microbiology. She then worked for M&S and GSK before returning to Nottingham for her PhD in 2013. Jennifer is working on biological engineering of the thermophile Geobacillus to produce the advanced biofuel butanol. This work is part of the RiceFuel project (www.ricefuel.net), an international collaboration aiming to convert rice straw waste into fuel.
Tom graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in Biochemistry in 2013, then subsequently joined the CRG in 2014 after completing several lab rotations as part of the UoN BBSRC funded DTP scheme. He is currently looking at engineering clostridia to degrade cellulose using synthetic biology techniques.
Carolyn joined the CRG in 2010 as a Marie Curie fellow on the ITN CLOSTNET. She spent her first three years at Unilever, Colworth Park, before transferring to Nottingham to complete her final year. Her current project is concerned with using forward and reverse genetics to better understand sporulation and germination in proteolytic Clostridium botulinum.
Carlo joined the CRG in 2010 as a Marie Curie fellow on the ITN CLOSTNET. He spent his first three years at Unilever, Colworth Park, before transferring to Nottingham to complete his final year. His project is concerned with using reverse genetics to better understand sporulation and germination in the food spoilage organism, Clostridium pasteurianum.
Chris joined the group in October of 2014 after graduating from Sheffield Hallam University with BSc (hons) in biology. His current work involves isolating and optimising methanotrophic bacteria for the bioconversion of methane to liquid transportation fuel.