Professor Georgina Hold
Georgina Hold is the Professor of Gut Health and Microbiology at the St George and Sutherland Clinical School, UNSW Australia. She has 25 years’ experience working in microbiome research in Australia, USA and UK, including a Fulbright Scholarship at Harvard University (2014/2015). Her research focusses on understanding the impact of gastrointestinal microbes on human health and disease, with a particular focus on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Developing greater understanding of the microbiota allows us to further appreciate the contribution that microbes play in diseases and potentially develop therapeutic strategies to maintain and restore health. Her lab has an internationally renowned reputation for multi-omic microbiota analysis. This has been achieved by a) developing robust protocols for collecting and processing the most clinically relevant samples, and b) ensuring the science is clinically driven. The main challenges in gut microbiome research relate to: 1) defining the point at which microbiota changes occur, which is in advance of clinical symptoms/disease presentation, 2) understanding the metabolic capabilities of the gut microbiota, 3) the effect of therapeutic regimens on the gut microbiota and ultimately identifying how to manipulate these factors to promote/maintain health. This requires multi-disciplinary research strategies harnessing clinicians, microbiologists, nutritionists, epidemiologists, bioinformaticians and also public health analysts. To achieve this, she collaborates with groups all over the world to ensure the skills sets required to address these multi-faceted research questions are brought together. Her research is supported through grants awarded from ARC, Pfizer, St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation (SSMRF), GESA and Sydney Children’s Hospital Network.
Georgina heads up the Sydney+ IBD Research Consortium; a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians, scientists, data analysts and also public health analysts. In 2019 The Australian IBD Microbiome (AIM) Study was launched as the inaugural research focus of the consortium. AIM Study is the largest IBD longitudinal cohort study every run in Australia. Despite only having launched in 2019 and despite the impact of COVID, AIM already has over 500 recruits. AIM Study will allow us to more fully understand the IBD patient journey which will ultimately help us improve patient health.
As a world authority on the gut microbiome, Georgina is invited to speak all over the world and is a passionate advocate for public engagement and empowering individuals to get involved in their health. Today, she is not only Professor of Gut Health and Microbiology, UNSW but also the Chair of South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Human Research Ethics Committee.