Dr Adam Dobson
- UKRI Future Leadership Fellow (Institute of Molecular Cell & Systems Biology)
- Associate (Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health & Comparative Medicine)
- Associate (Institute of Infection Immunity & Inflammation)
Adam did his PhD on evolution of insect infection in Sheffield. His first postdoc, at Cornell University, was focussed on how bacteria living in the gut benefit host health. All signs pointed towards the molecular networks that signal nutrient availability, which led to a second postdoc at UCL to study those networks directly, and their impact on lifelong health and ageing. This work showed the importance of the interaction between nutrients and specific tissues: a theme that was developed further in a fellowship at the Technical University of Dresden.
Several transcriptomes and a few million flies later, Adam joined MCSB to look for evolutionarily-conserved ways that bacteria communicate with their hosts, and the consequences for long-term host health. Biomedically, this could help us to design microbiota to improve long-term health. Biologically, this research could reveal general rules of what bacteria can do for their hosts, which animals seem unable to manage alone.
Nutrition affects all aspects of animal form and function, including development, adult health, and the biology of ageing. Consequently, both gut microbes and diet are important factors for lifelong health. Nutrient availability is unlikely to exactly match the consumer's needs, which vary genetically, by life stage, and also amongst distinct tissues. This mismatch of supply and demand means that animals have to "choose" how to use nutrients, and certain processes will be prioritised over others. This prioritisation results in biological tradeoffs, which underlie epidemics of human ill-health, including metabolic disease and diseases of ageing.
I am interested in the function and evolution of nutrient signalling and metabolism. The ultimate goal is to promote health throughout the lifecourse by optimising microbiota and diet for individuals' needs. I primarily address these questions using the fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster, to identify evolutionarily-conserved processes that could be targeted in other animals, including humans.
Grants and Awards listed are those received whilst working with the University of Glasgow.
- Remote control: How do microbiota promote animal health?
Medical Research Council
2019 - 2023