Institute of Cellular Medicine

Staff Profile

Dr Christopher Stewart

Marie Slodowska-Curie ITN Fellow

Background

Background

 

I am a Marie Sk?odowska-Curie Fellow working within the Faculty of Medical Sciences.  Prior to moving to Newcastle University to start up my own research group, I worked at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, Texas) as a Postdoctoral Associate.

 

My research interests are focused on the microbiome and host responses in human health and disease. My research typically focuses on early life (neonatal through to childhood) and is split into two major areas, 1) Multi-omic investigation of clinical samples and 2) Novel models to elucidate microbial-host crosstalk and interrogate the mechanisms of gastrointestinal disease.  More information regarding my labs research is available on the “Research” tab.  My publications are listed in the “Publications” tab and also on my Google Scholar profile (link below).


Google Scholar: Click here.

Twitter: Click here.


Education and Training

 

Marie Curie Research Fellow - Newcastle University, UK

Faculty Fellow - Newcastle University, UK

Post-Doctoral associate - Baylor College of Medicine, USA

Research Fellow - University of Northumbria, UK

Ph.D. in Molecular Microbial Ecology - University of Northumbria, UK

BSc. Biotechnology: 1st Class Honors - University of Northumbria, UK

Research

My research interests are focused on the ecology of microbial communities and host responses in human health and disease. My research typically focuses on early life (neonatal through to childhood) and is split into two major areas:

1) Multi-omic investigation of clinical samples: Applying high-throughput next generation sequencing and mass spectrometry-based approaches to generate large datasets from clinical samples, including stool, nasopharyngeal aspirate, saliva, oral swabs, tissue resections, and blood. Such datasets typically include information relating to the presence of microbes and their genetic capacity, as well as microbial and host protein and metabolite levels. Bioinformatics and statistical analysis can then be applied to determine differences between diseased and control groups, plus what specific microbes/genes/proteins/metabolites are associated with each group. Although disease mechanism requires further work, this area of discovery research typically yields several testable hypotheses.

2) Novel models to elucidate microbial-host crosstalk and interrogate the mechanisms of gastrointestinal disease: The potential to interrogate microbial-host cross-talk promises to lead to major advances in our understanding of how microbes promote health or cause disease. Due to recent scientific advances, we now have the ability to take patient tissue that would otherwise be discarded and derive intestinal ‘enteroids’ from the tissue. These human intestinal enteroids are able to grow into ‘mini guts’ in the laboratory and can differentiate into all the major cell types of the intestine. They also secrete mucin and respond to viral or bacterial infection. Because the tissue is derived from patients with disease, and retains the genetic, epigenetic, and exposure history, human intestinal enteroids have several major advances over animal models. With collaborators at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, USA), we have pioneered a powerful co-culture system that mimics the conditions of the gastrointestinal tract and simultaneously allows bacteria and patient-derived enteroids to interact directly. We can then test how the addition of specific bacteria influences the health or disease status of the cells, such as by measuring epithelial integrity, bacterial translocation, and markers of disease (e.g., inflammatory cytokines). This work allows microbial-host cross-talk to be investigated and can lead to mechanistic understanding of disease processes, which can be directly translated into clinical care of patients.

Such knowledge from basic science has great potential for the development of new treatments and the clinical management of patients.

Teaching

Undergraduate and Masters

 

I have experience in teaching undergraduate modules and running BSc Honours Projects.  My lab has hosted undergraduate summer studentships.  I have also supervised MSc research projects.

 


Ph.D. and Postdoctoral project supervision

 

I have co-supervised a Ph.D. student to completion. I have also provided mentorship to several Ph.D. students and Postdoctoral researchers.


Publications