In 2013 I was awarded a 5 year Wellcome Trust New Investigator Award and am studying the role of early life gut microbiota in resistance to enteric (gut) infections. My research focuses on one of the major early life bacterial groups, bifidobacteria. The aim is to understand how these pioneer bifidobacteria colonise the gut (via their surface molecules) and subsequently modulate critical resistance to gut infection, and to understand how early life antibiotic-induced disturbances alter this microbial community, ultimately leading to a breakdown in pathogen protection. Another key goal is to identify bifidobacterial communities that can restore a disturbed early life microbiota back into one able to control gut infection. Gaining further knowledge about these pioneer bifidobacteria may provide a powerful therapeutic focus in infectious and chronic inflammatory disease settings.