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Prof Paul O’Toole

Paul graduated with a BA (Mod) Microbiology (1984) and PhD (1987) from Trinity College Dublin, in microbial molecular genetics. He has extensive experience in bacterial genetics and gut microbiology, having spent 14 years outside Ireland working in Univ. Lund (Sweden), Univ. Victoria (Canada), Massey University (New Zealand), and GlaxoSmithKline (Philadelphia). Since 2002, he has led the Lactobacillus genomics programme at the APC, and he is a Professor of Microbial Genomics in the School of Microbiology. His main research theme is the genomics of gastrointestinal bacteria in humans with emphasis on commensal species and host interaction.

In recent years he has coordinated and participated in several major projects that examine the composition and function of the gut microbiota, its interaction with habitual diet, and its relationship to health, functional gastrointestinal disorders, colorectal cancer and ageing. The ultimate aim of these investigations is to develop novel therapeutics, foods and food ingredients to programme the intestinal microbiota towards promoting health. He co-ordinated ELDERMET (eldermet.ucc.ie), a nationally funded project that established diet-microbiota health interactions in 500 elderly persons, and a project called ELDERFOOD that is investigating dairy-derived foods for healthy ageing.

As well as now being involved in the coordination of FIBREMET, he is a member of the International Human Microbiome Consortium (IHMC) board. His research programme in gut health at the APC is funded by Dept. Agriculture Fisheries and Food, Science Foundation Ireland and the European Commission. Paul has published over 200 scientific articles.