James Collins, D. Phil

Research Interests

Composed of hundreds of coexisting species, the intestinal microbiota is shaped by competition within a niche space limited by nutrient availability, environmental conditions, competitors, predators, and host genetics. The availability of nutrients within the intestinal tract is fundamentally linked to diet - something that undergone profound changes in the preceding 100 years. The industrialization of food processing and manufacturing has not only resulted in a significant increase in the consumption of simple carbohydrates, but also resulted in the addition of novel sugars, non-calorific sweeteners, oils, and emulsifiers to the food chain. Despite safety testing in animals, the effect of these nutrients on the microbiota is mostly unknown.

Primarily focusing on the hospital-associated pathogens Clostridioides difficile (formerly Clostridium difficile) and Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE), we examine how dietary components can be drivers of infectivity, selection, spread, and virulence of enteric pathogens.

Selected Publications

  • Danielson ND, Collins J, Stothard AI, Dong QQ, Kalera K, Woodruff PJ, et al. Degradation-resistant trehalose analogues block utilization of trehalose by hypervirulent: Clostridioides difficile. Chem Commun. 2019 55:5009–12.
  • Collins J, Danhof H, Britton RA. The role of trehalose in the global spread of epidemic Clostridium difficile. Gut Microbes. Taylor & Francis; 2019 10:204–9.
  • Collins J, Robinson C, Danhof H, Knetsch CW, van Leeuwen HC, Lawley TD, et al. Dietary trehalose enhances virulence of epidemic Clostridium difficile. Nature. Nature Publishing Group; 2018 553:291–4.
  • Collins J, Auchtung JM, Schaefer L, Eaton KA, Britton RA. Humanized microbiota mice as a model of recurrent Clostridium difficile disease. Microbiome. 2015 3:35.
  • Robinson CD, Auchtung JM, Collins J, Britton RA. Epidemic Clostridium difficile Strains Demonstrate Increased Competitive Fitness Compared to Nonepidemic Isolates. Infect Immun. 2014 82:2815–25.
  • Collins J, Rudkin J, Recker M, Pozzi C, O’Gara JP, Massey RC. Offsetting virulence and antibiotic resistance costs by MRSA. ISME J. 2010 4:577–84.

Complete List of Publications found here.