THE HUWS LAB
The Huws Lab is based in the Institute for Global Food Security at Queens University Belfast.
The group's research is focused on gut microbiology, especially of ruminant livestock and poultry.
Through our research, we aim to understand the concepts and mechanisms which underlie the complexities of gut microbiomes. We use advanced microbiology and molecular technologies to explore and investigate early life development studies in livestock and biotechnological mining of their niche gut ecosystem for applications in industry covering food security, bioactive enzymes and antimicrobial compounds.
Our research is generously supported by funding from the BBSCR, UK government and a number of foundations.
NEW THERAPIES, NEW DISEASES
We have developed a powerful technology for use in the identification and characterization of novel enzymes and bioactive compounds including antimicrobial peptides to combat the growing problem of emerging antimicrobial resistance. A major advantage of this development is its improved activity, and specificity to prokaryotic over eukaryotic and mammalian cells with potential application as treatment therapies for emerging bacterial, fungal and protozoal infections in humans and livestock.
META 'OMIC MICROBIOME RESEARCH
We still have only a very limited understanding of changes in the gut microbiome especially of livestock play a role in disease and animal production. Answering questions about this through a meta 'comic approach is essential for understanding the mechanistic role the microbiome plays on other scientific processes, and for developing tools to further explore this research avenue with improved early life study programmes, more sensitive measurements and improved data collection.
ANIMAL PRODUCTION, MEAT AND MILK QUALITY
In an effort to gain a better understanding of how we might improve animal production, our research is strategically focused on understanding the functionality of the rumen microbes to address the problem of food security through improvement of meat and milk quality while reducing harmful livestock gas emissions
ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE SURVEILLANCE AND MONITORING
In an effort to gain a better understanding of the worrying problem of antimicrobial resistance, we are using multidisciplinary biotechnological methods to assess and monitor antimicrobial resistance around us, especially on UK Farms. To investigate this project further, we are currently looking to expand this work by collaborating with the UK Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), our Brazilian research partners, other labs who have access to farms, and other facilities.