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Cambridge Infectious Diseases

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Hilary Browne

Dr Hilary  Browne

Staff Scientist

Hilary's research interest is in the intestinal microbiota

Departments and Institutes

Wellcome Sanger Institute:

Research Interests

The foundation of Hilary's work is based upon culturing of the strict anaerobic bacteria that comprise the majority of the human intestinal microbiota. Whole genome sequencing of the isolated bacteria facilitates genomic and metagenomic analyses, this combined with in vitro phenotypic studies leads to functional insights and a move towards establishing causation in different disease states.
We have developed techniques to culture most of the intestinal microbiota. This provides a valuable resource to understand the underlying biology of these health-promoting bacteria and also to study their role in different diseases using in vivo and in vitro models. In addition, these bacteria can be used to develop therapeutics to treat diseases associated with the intestinal microbiota. Hilary is particularly interested in the role of spore-forming bacteria in the human intestinal microbiota, their ecology and evolution, how they differ functionally from non-spore-forming bacteria and how spore-formation promotes transmission of anaerobic bacteria between individuals.

Key Projects, Countries, and Partners:

Evolution of intestinal spore-forming bacteria in human gut


  • Bacteriology
  • Microbiome