The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


29 May 2020

NHMRC Investigator Grants 2020 | Understanding genomic and biochemical landscapes with Professor Tim Stinear

Awarded May 2020 for a period of five years.


Understanding complex genomic and biochemical landscapes in human health microbiology.


The microbial communities that inhabit our gastrointestinal tract, the gut microbiota, are now recognized as central to human health. From autoimmune disorders to mental health and obesity and controlling response to cancer therapies, our health and wellbeing are intimately associated with the microbial communities that live within us. Our ability to describe the complexity of these systems is growing, but deep, functional understanding remains sparse.

“It is becoming urgent that we find ways to understand the molecular interactions shaping the human gut microbiota,” said Professor Tim Stinear.

“The proposed research is significant because it will reveal the roles of certain microbes and the specific chemicals they make in the context of human diseases, in particular the impact of antibiotics used to treat infections.

“The high resolution of faecal microbiome structure and access to individual microorganisms to be revealed in this project paves the way for rational design of therapeutic interventions, such as faecal microbial transplants to augment cancer immunotherapies or to address inflammatory bowel conditions.”

Knowledge from this research will contribute to understanding how microbes metabolize our medicines, interact with the gut-brain axis and impact host immune functions in general.

The value of the “Human Microbiome Market” is rapidly rising globally, estimated to be valued at $190 million USD and growing to $620 million USD by end of 2024. With many companies trying to develop microbial cocktails, such as probiotics, prebiotics and symbiotics to favourably alter health outcomes, this research has the potential to greatly impact human health.

“This grant will support me to create a new understanding of the genetic and biochemical potential of the diverse microbial communities in the context of human health and disease,” Professor Stinear said.