Awarded under the auspices of the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM), the Oxoid W H Pierce Memorial Prize is presented every year to a young Society member who has made a substantial contribution to microbiology. Dr Jones is developing methods to study the transfer of genetic material within the whole gastric microbial community. This work will shed valuable light on our understanding of what is happening in the human gut microbiota and how it is involved in various diseases.
Dr Brian Jones graduated from the University of Cardiff in 2000 with a 1st Class Honours degree in Genetics and went on to complete his PhD on bacterial pathogenesis at the same university. He then spent four years in the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at the University College of Cork in Ireland where he began the application of metagenomic approaches to understand the functioning of the human gut microbiota. It was at this time that he became interested in mobile genetic elements associated with this community and began to develop strategies to investigate the human gut mobile metagenome.
In 2008, Dr Jones accepted a lectureship in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Brighton, where he has established his own research group. His research continues to investigate the human gut mobile metagenome as well as the gut microbiota in general, with a major project currently underway aimed at understanding the role of gut bacteria in colon cancer.
"I'm delighted to be awarded this prize, but I can't take all the credit," said Dr Jones. "I've been lucky enough to work with many excellent and supportive people over the last 10 years, most recently colleagues at the University of Brighton and my research group."