The Norwich Research Park encompasses scientists and projects here at the John Innes Centre, as well at The Sainsbury Laboratory, Quadram Institute, Earlham Institute and the University of East Anglia, making Norwich the UK’s leading site for microbiological research.
The network has been established to improve links between researchers and research bodies, helping to drive high quality research and open lines of communication between scientists both in Norwich, and across the wider research community.
Almost 100 groups across the park are engaged in different aspects of microbial science. This research is generating important discoveries year on year, and has potential applications in the fields of pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food processing and environmental monitoring and remediation.
For example, there are more than 300 microbiologists and over 40 separate research groups on the Norwich Research Park involved in antimicrobial drug discovery and resistance-related studies, making this one of the largest centres for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) research in the world.
Safe food is essential for human and animal health and wellbeing, and contamination of food with pathogenic microbes causes a huge economic and health burden around the world. So equally importantly as our AMR work, our scientists are actively studying how, where and when pathogens contaminate foodstuffs. Their work includes the use of genomics, metagenomics, molecular microbiology, colonisation and infection models and analytical chemistry approaches.
At the same time, scientists in the MICRON network are engaged in collaborative work to analyse complex natural environments, including crop plant rhizospheres, the human gut microbiome and leafcutter ant fungal farms, which produce a vast range of different natural product molecules that may ultimately benefit humans.
Recent microbiological discoveries from across the MICRON network include;
- A new way to target drug-resistant bacteria (John Innes Centre)
- New insights into how our bodies maintain a beneficial relationship with our gut microbes (Quadram)
- A new paradigm for iron regulation in bacteria (UEA)
- Secrets of the evolution of Salmonella’s disease adaptations revealed (Earlham Institute)
- Research sheds light on how plants breathe (The Sainsbury Laboratory)
Scientists across the Norwich Research Park fall into the following research groups;
- Antimicrobial resistance
- Biological chemistry
- Bio-geochemical cycles
- Food safety
- Gut health
- Infection biology
- Medical and clinical biology
- Natural products
- Plant microbe interactions
- Sequence-led research
Funding for our microbiological work comes from a wide variety of sources including the UK research councils, medical and academic charities, as well as pharmaceutical and agritech companies.