skip to content


New method for nutrient-tracing within a microbial community

20 February 2023

Cross-feeding, or the exchange of nutrients between organisms, is fundamental to the diversity and function of microbial communities. However, pinpointing the corresponding donors and receivers to understand more about this nutrient exchange is challenging as amino acids, nucleotides and more are universal across all...

Read more

From friends to foes: why you never judge a bug by its cover

9 September 2022

As someone who hovers between being a millennial and gen-Zer, I often wonder how great thinkers of the past would view the extensive ways in which social media are intertwined with our everyday lives. Plato, for instance, might have thought that these virtual alternatives to real-life interactions are mere shadows of...

Read more

Kiran Patil comments on 'synthetic microbiome' research in the New York Times

7 September 2022

The New York Times report on a synthetic human microbiome that has been created for the first time combining 119 species of bacteria naturally found in the human body. Dr Kiran Patil provided his expert comment on the work. Kiran commented: “It is remarkable how a hundred-plus human gut strains form a stable and resilient...

Read more

Artistic representation of inside of cell with different organelles

Cells build local supply chain of metabolites required for gene expression regulation

31 August 2022

Research from the Patil group published in Science Advances reveals that parts of the TCA cycle, originally thought to only happen in the mitochondria, are happening in the nucleus, closer to the DNA and ready to be dispatched when critical processes of the cell increase their demand, without barriers.

Read more

Toxicology Unit at the Great Exhibition Road Festival

21 July 2022

The Great Exhibition Road Festival is a free annual celebration of science and the arts in South Kensington. The Festival is a collaboration between cultural and research institutions based in and around Exhibition Road in South Kensington, including Imperial College London, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum...

Read more

Dr Kiran Patil speaks on the BBC One evening news

9 February 2022

A research focus in our Unit is the link between chemical exposure and adverse outcome pathways. You may have seen the recent news about chemicals in Cambridgeshire water supplies. Our own Dr Kiran Patil was asked to give his view on the 6.30pm BBC One Look East news on the 8th February 2022.

Read more

New paper published in Nature: Bioaccumulation of therapeutic drugs by human gut bacteria

15 September 2021

Common medications can accumulate in gut bacteria, altering bacterial function and potentially reducing the medications’ effectiveness. This study started as a collaborative project at EMBL Heidelberg and was concluded in the group of Kiran Patil after his move to the MRC Toxiciology Unit in Cambridge. Read the full...

Read more

Dr Kiran Patil has been appointed as Deputy Editor for the open access journal: 'PLOS Computational Biology'

23 June 2021

This open access journal explores the " application of computational methods among disparate areas of biology" (PLOS Computaional Biology: Journal Information ). Editorial Board: PLOS Computational Biology: A Peer-Reviewed Open-Access Journal

Read more

Cooperation is key to success in microbial communities

12 January 2021

Dr Kiran Patil, Director of Research at the MRC Toxicology Unit is the senior author of a new study which shows how cooperation among bacterial species allows them to thrive as a community. This research is from the MRC Toxicology Unit at the University of Cambridge and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). "If...

Read more

Welcome to our new group leaders

22 October 2019

The Unit is delighted to announce the appointment of three new group leaders: Mike Chapman, Ritwick Sawarkar and Kiran Patil. Mike Chapman Mike’s programme will focus on the toxicity of CAR-T cell therapy. The lab will be combining genomic and proteomic approaches with more traditional ‘wet lab’ techniques to dissect the...

Read more