Centre for Synthetic Biology and the Bioeconomy

Staff Profile

Dr David Bolam

Senior Lecturer



BSc (Hons) University of Warwick, 1993
MSc University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1994
PhD University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1999

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Research Interests

Our resident gut microbiota, composed of trillions of mainly bacterial cells, have co-evolved with us and play an essential role in maintaining normal health and nutrition. Bacterial survival in the gut is dependent on the ability of members of this community to sense and respond rapidly to changes in their dynamic nutrient environment. The major nutrient source for microbes in the distal intestine are plant- and animal-derived glycans from our diets, as the human genome does not encode the enzymes necessary to degrade many of these complex macromolecules.

In my lab we use a range of biochemical, microbiological, genetic and structural techniques to study the molecular mechanisms utilised by our resident gut bacteria to recognise, acquire and degrade complex glycans. The results of this research have applications in a number of areas including the development of biofuels derived from plant cell wall material to personalised nutrition approaches to optimise microbiota function for the benefit of human health.


Undergraduate (Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences degrees) and Masters.

BGM1002 - Biochemistry

BMS2015 - Health and Disease at Mucosal Surfaces

BGM2060 - Proteins and Enzymes (Module Leader)

BGM3064 - Applied Biochemistry

MIC3046 - Microbiota and Pathogens

MMB8010 - Studying Life at the Molecular Level

MMS8108 - Human Health and the Impact of Microbial Genomics