Our aim is to understand how the early life microbiota, particularly the genus Bifidobacterium, modulates host health.

The Hall Lab’s research focuses on unravelling the intricate dynamics of the intestinal microbiota, particularly during the critical early life developmental phase. We are dedicated to understanding how microbial communities and specific microbiota members, such as Bifidobacterium, engage in interactions with other microbes and the host organism. Our key areas of investigation encompass:

(i) Diet and Microbial Impact: We explore how dietary factors influence the composition and behaviour of microbial communities in the gut.

(ii) Infection Resistance: Our research delves into how these microbes enhance the host’s defence mechanisms, particularly their resistance to infections.

(iii) Beneficial Host Responses: We investigate how these microorganisms positively influence host responses, including the regulation of the immune system.

(iv) Microbial Community Restoration: A significant goal of our work is to identify bifidobacterial communities and their specific components that can restore a disrupted microbial communities to a state that promotes health.

To address these pivotal questions, we employ a diverse range of multidisciplinary approaches. Our methods include microbiology, utilising advanced in vitro model colon systems for complex culturing, and molecular microbiology. We also utilise metabolomics techniques, such as NMR and mass spectrometry, as well as next-generation sequencing, encompassing RNASeq, 16S rRNA amplicon, shotgun metagenomics and whole-genome sequencing, covering both host and microbial genomes. Additionally, we make extensive use of bioinformatics tools, in vivo models including germ-free models and infection models, and conduct human studies involving preterm/term infants and adults.

Through our holistic research approach, we aim to gain deeper insights into the complex world of the intestinal microbiota, with a special focus on early life development, and its profound implications for human health.