Georgina Hold is the Professor of Gut Health at the Microbiome Research Centre, St George and Sutherland Clinical School at UNSW. Her research focusses on understanding the impact of gastrointestinal microbes on human health and disease. Developing greater understanding in this area allows us to further appreciate the contribution that gut microbes play in diseases and potentially develop therapeutic strategies to maintain and restore health. Her lab has an internationally renowned reputation for microbiome analysis which has been achieved by a) developing robust protocols for collecting and processing the most clinically relevant samples, and b) ensuring the science is clinically driven. The main challenges in microbiome research relate to: 1) defining the point at which microbiota changes occur, which is often in advance of clinical symptoms/disease presentation, 2) understanding the metabolic capabilities of the gut microbiota, 3) defining the effect of therapeutic regimens on the gut microbiota and ultimately identifying how to manipulate these factors to promote/maintain health. This requires multi-disciplinary research strategies harnessing clinicians, microbiologists, nutritionists, epidemiologists, bioinformaticians and also public health analysts. To achieve this, she collaborates with groups all over the world to ensure the skills sets required to address these multi-faceted research questions are brought together. She has an impressive publication record with over 100 peer-reviewed papers to date. Her work has contributed significantly to understanding the role of the gut microbiome in colonic disease. Her group was the first to identify an over-representation of epsilon Proteobacteria (non-pylori Helicobacter and emerging Campylobacter) in ulcerative colitis and was also the first to publish a detailed assessment of the paediatric gut microbiota in treatment naive de-novo presenting children with IBD, demonstrating that changes in microbial diversity in established disease are not present at disease onset. She is a leading authority on emerging Campylobacter and heads an international effort to whole genome sequence clinical strains in order to understand their role in intestinal disease. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship in 2014 and spent a year at Harvard School of Public Health studying microbe/microbe interactions and their role in colonic disease.
Abstracts this author is presenting: