Upon completing postgraduate work at the Medical Research Council’s Clinical Research Centre, Harrow “emigrated” to the USA to take up a postdoctoral position at New York University School of Medicine. After ~14 months left New York to take up a Howard Hughes Fellowship position in the Immunobiology Group at Yale University with Profs Kim Bottomly and Charlie Janeway. While at Yale an interest in gamma-delta (γδ) T cells was acquired working closely with Adrian Hayday on molecular genetics and then with Prof Peter Doherty to establish their role in infectious disease. Left Yale after five years to take up a faculty position at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. During this time an interest in mucosal and GI-tract immunology, developed performing studies in germfree mice with John Cebra that helped establish the role of gut microbes in the aetiology of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). After 15 years in the USA, returned to the UK to take up the Chair in Molecular Immunology at the University of Leeds. At Leeds the focus of the research was on γδ T cell biology and the role these cells play in mucosal immunity. In addition a new programme on Bacteroides genetics was undertaken leading to the development of a Bacteroides drug delivery platform that is being used for developing new interventions for IBD and for mucosal vaccination. Left Leeds in 2008 to take up the position of Professor of Mucosal Immunology at UEA-MED and leader of the Gut Biology Research Programme, which eventually became part of the Gut Health and Food Safety (GHFS) Programme. The GHFS programme comprises 13 research groups led by individual group leaders that cover a broad area of gut biology including epithelial cell physiology and epigenetics, mucus and glycobiology, mucosal immunology, commensal microbiology, foodborne bacterial pathogens, and mathematical modelling and bioinformatics. The total number of scientists working in the programme is currently about 60. Within this programme, much of the work undertaken in the Carding research group builds upon that carried out in the USA and latterly in the UK with a major focus on understanding the mechanisms of intestinal microbial tolerance and the role that microbe-host cross talk plays in establishing and maintaining gut health and in gut diseases such as IBD.

Career History

PhD MRC-Clinical Research Centre, Harrow UK 1985

Visiting Instructor, New York Univ. Sch. Medicine, New York, USA, 1985-1986

Postdoctoral Associate, Yale Univ. Sch. Med, New Haven, USA, 1986-1989

Howard Hughes Fellow, Yale Univ. Sch. Medicine, New Haven, USA, 1989-1991

Assistant/Associate Professor, Univ. Pennsylvania, Phildelphia, USA, 1991-1999

Professor Molecular Immunology, Leeds Univ., Leeds UK, 1999-2008

Professor Mucosal Immunology, Norwich Medical School, UEA, 2008-

Head, Gut Health and Food Safety Research Programme, Institute of Food Research, 2008 

Key Research Interests

Much of the work undertaken in the Carding research group based at IFR focuses on understanding the mechanisms of intestinal microbial tolerance and the role that microbe-host cross talk plays in establishing and maintaining gut health and in gut disease. Current research interests are, defining the link between the mucosal immune system, dendritic cells (DC) and lipid metabolism using a novel experimental model of obesity, the role autophagy plays in intestinal epithelial cell homeostasis, barrier function and mucosal immune responses to commensal and pathogenic microbes, the nature of mucosal immune cell (iIEL)-microbiota interactions in establishing and maintaining a healthy intestinal microbiome while mounting immediate response to food-borne pathogens, regulation of epithelial tight junctions and the maintenance of intestinal barrier function, interkingdom macromolecule exchange in microbe-host crosstalk and the establishment of mutualism in the GI-tract, development of novel strategies to treat and prevent chronic intestinal inflammation and IBD using SMART bacteria and novel foods, immune tolerance and implant rejection and, immunosenescence and diet.

Research Keywords  

Gut biology and gastroenterology

Intestinal epithelial cells

Intestinal microbiology

Mucosal immunology

Postgraduate Research Student Supervision

Gut biology

Gut microbiology

Mucosal innate immunity

Inflammatory bowel disease

Plant and microbe based therapies for gut disease  

Highlighted Publications       

  • Baumgart, DB and SR. Carding. 2007. Inflammatory bowel disease: Aetiology and Immunopathogenesis. The Lancet. 369:1627-1638 ·       
  • Cruickshank, SM, ML. Deschoolmeester, M. Svensson, A. Bazakou, G. Howell, L. Logunova, MC. Little, N. English, RK. Grencis, KJ. Else and SR. Carding. 2009. Rapid dendritic cell mobilization to the large intestinal epithelium is associated with resistance to Trichuris muris infection. J. Immunol. 182:3055-3062 ·       
  • Hamady, ZR, MD. Farrar, TR. Whitehead, KT. Holland, JPA. Lodge and SR. Carding. 2010. Xylan regulated delivery of human keratinocyte growth factor-2 to the inflamed colon by the human anaerobic commensal bacterium Bacteroides ovatus. Gut. 59:461-469 ·       
  • Mizushima, N, TS Stappenbeck, JD Rioux, A Mizoguchi, T Saitoh, A Huett, A Darfeuille Michaud, SR Carding, T Wileman, S Akira, M Parkes, RJ Xavier. 2010 Crohns disease: A current perspective on genetics, autophagy and immunity. Autophagy. 7:355-374 ·       
  • Hamady Z. R., Scott N., Farrar M. D., Dilger P. G., Thorpe R., Lodge J. P. A., Holland K. T., Whitehead T., Carding S. R. (2011). Treatment of colitis with a commensal gut bacterium engineered to secrete human TGF-#f0621 under the control of dietary xylan. Inflammatory Bowel Disease 17 (9) 1925-1935 ·       
  • Weight C. M., Carding S. R. (2012). The protozoan pathogen Toxoplasma gondii targets the paracellular pathway to invade the intestinal epithelium. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1258 (1) 135-142
  • Pin C., Watson A., Carding S. (2012). Modelling the spatio-temporal cell dynamics reveals novel insights on cell differentiation and proliferation in the small intestinal crypt. PLoS ONE 7 (5) e37115. ·        Wegmann, U, N. Horn, SR. Carding 2013. Defining the Bacteriodes ribosomal binding site. Appl. Env. Microbiol. 79:1980-89  

Key Responsibilities

Leader, Gut Health and Food Safety Research Programme at the Institute of Food Research Chair and/or member of more than 10 committees at IFR involved in overseeing or managing research-related activities.

Professional/External Activities and Indicators of Esteem

Activity / Indicator of EsteemDate/ YearAdditional Info
RCUK Grant Review and Advisory Panels2000- 
Grant Review for International Funding Bodies2008- 
Advisory Boards for Biomedical Charities and Industry2000- 
Invited speaker at national and international conferences1990- 
Reviewer for international journals1986- 

Enterprise and Engagement Activities

Activity / Indicator of Esteem

Date / YearAdditional Info
Founder/Chief Executive, Ovatus Ltd. Spin out company2009-2012 
UK and international Patents for Ovatus Ltd2009-2013