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 Division of Integrative Systems Medicine and Digestive Diseases in 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), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). He is on the editorial board for the journal Microbiome and sits on numerous expert panels relating to the gut microbiota. 

Current lab members:

Gordana Panic (post-doctoral research associate)

Natasa Giallourou (post-doctoral research associate)

Fahmina Fardus-Reid (post-doctoral research associate)

Adesola Bello (PhD student)

Marine Letertre (PhD student)

Yi Yang (PhD student)

Giorgia Caspani (PhD student) 

Simone Zuffa (PhD student)





Al Hinai EA, Kullamethee P, Rowland IR, et al., 2018, Modelling the role of microbial p-cresol in colorectal genotoxicity, Gut Microbes, ISSN:1949-0976, Pages:1-14

Medlock GL, Carey MA, McDuffie DG, et al., 2018, Inferring Metabolic Mechanisms of Interaction within a Defined Gut Microbiota, Cell Systems, Vol:7, ISSN:2405-4712, Pages:245-+

Aleman JO, Bokulich NA, Swann JR, et al., 2018, Fecal microbiota and bile acid interactions with systemic and adipose tissue metabolism in diet-induced weight loss of obese postmenopausal women, Journal of Translational Medicine, Vol:16, ISSN:1479-5876

Passmore IJ, Letertre MPM, Preston MD, et al., 2018, Para-cresol production by Clostridium difficile affects microbial diversity and membrane integrity of Gram-negative bacteria, Plos Pathogens, Vol:14, ISSN:1553-7366

Giallourou NS, Rowland IR, Rothwell SD, et al., 2018, Metabolic targets of watercress and PEITC in MCF-7 and MCF-10A cells explain differential sensitisation responses to ionising radiation., Eur J Nutr

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