Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Surgery & Cancer

Reader in Microbiomics and Human Development



+44 (0)20 7594 0728j.swann




660Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Dr Swann is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Microbiomics and Human Development within the Computational and Systems Medicine Section of the Department of Surgery and Cancer. Dr Swann is responsible for leading a metabonomic-based research programme to understand the influence of gene-environment interactions on the mammalian metabolic system and their implications for health and disease. His primary interests fall under two intersecting research themes:

(1) Role of the gut microbiota (the collection of microbes residing in the gastrointestinal tract) in the mammalian metabolic system and their association with host health and disease. This includes their contribution to host endogenous and xenobiotic metabolism, the gut-brain axis and its role in neurological disorders, the carcinogenic potential of the microbiome, and environmental and host factors shaping the acquisition and composition of the gut microbiome.

(2) Impact of early-life events and exposures on mammalian development particularly microbial-host interplay, metabolism, and phenotypic outcomes. A key research area is the application of metabolic phenotyping to the field of global health. Specifically, using a metabonomic approach to characterise the biochemical consequences of undernutrition and infection in children from developing countries to better understand the contributors to the long-term sequelae of early life undernutrition, including impaired cognitive, growth and metabolic functions.

Dr Swann’s research is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, BBSRC, MRC, AstraZeneca, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Horticultural Development Company (HDC). He is on the editorial board for the journal Microbiome and sits on numerous expert panels relating to the gut microbiota. 

Current lab members:

Nick Andreas (post-doctoral research associate)

Natasa Giallourou (post-doctoral research associate)

Jon Breton (post-doctoral research associate)

Fahmina Fardus-Reid (post-doctoral research associate)

Aya Osman (PhD student)

Adesola Bello (PhD student)

Marine Letertre (PhD student)

Yi Yang (PhD student)

Giorgia Caspani (PhD student) 





Biggs MB, Medlock GL, Moutinho TJ, et al., Systems-level metabolism of the Altered Schaedler Flora, a complete gut microbiota, Isme Journal, ISSN:1751-7362

Shortt C, Hasselwander O, Meynier A, et al., 2017, Systematic review of the effects of the intestinal microbiota on selected nutrients and non-nutrients, European Journal of Nutrition, ISSN:1436-6207

Mayneris-Perxachs J, Bolick DT, Leng J, et al., Protein and zinc deficient diets modulate the murine microbiome and metabolic phenotype, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ISSN:1938-3207

Rowland I, Gibson G, Heinken A, et al., Gut microbiota functions: metabolism of nutrients and other food components, European Journal of Nutrition, ISSN:1436-6207

Swann JR, Garcia-Perez I, Braniste V, et al., 2017, Application of H-1 NMR spectroscopy to the metabolic phenotyping of rodent brain extracts: A metabonomic study of gut microbial influence on host brain metabolism, Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, Vol:143, ISSN:0731-7085, Pages:141-146

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