Research Profile

Colin Hill


Colin Hill has a Ph.D in molecular microbiology and is Professor in the School of Microbiology at University College Cork, Ireland. He has been an SFI Principal Investigator since 2002 (renewed in 2006 and 2010). He is also a founding Principal Investigator in the APC Microbiome Institute, a multidisciplinary research centre focusing on the role of gut microbiota in health and disease. His main interests are in bacteriophage, bacteriocins and the role they play in shaping the microbiome and as interventions capable of preventing infectious disease. He has published more than 500 peer-reviewed papers and holds 18 patents in this area (in 2017 he had an ISI H factor over 70, Google H factor over 90). More than 50 PhD students have graduated from the laboratory. In 2005 Prof. Hill was awarded a D.Sc by the National University of Ireland in recognition of his contributions to research.  In 2009 he was elected to the Royal Irish Academy, the highest honour for an Irish academic.  In 2010 he was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology and together with his colleagues Prof. Gerald Fitzgerald, Prof. Paul Ross and Dr Catherine Stanton he was awarded the Metchnikoff Prize in Microbiology.  He served as President of ISAPP (International Scientific Association for Prebiotics and Probiotics) from 2012-2015.

Research Interests

Research interests and expertise.  Molecular Microbiology, particularly in issues involving infection. Bacteriophages, Bacteriocins (applied and fundamental aspects), Pharmabiotics (bioactives in gut health), Clostridium difficile, antibiotic resistant pathogens

Research Overview.  We participate in APC Microbiome Ireland, a multidisciplinary research centre focusing on the role of gut microbiota in health and disease. Our main interests are in infectious disease, particularly in defining the mechanisms of virulence of foodborne pathogens and in developing strategies to prevent and limit the consequences of microbial infections in the gastrointestinal tract. We are also interested in the role of bacteriocins and bacteriophages as agents to limit the growth of bacteria in food or in the human gut.


For a complete list of publications please click on this Link 


Professional Activities

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2014APC Person of the Year APC
2011UCC Commercialisation Award University College Cork
2010UCC Commercialisation Award University College Cork
2010Elected Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology American Academy of Microbiology
2010Metchnikoff Prize for Microbiology International Dairy Federation
2009UCC Commercialisation Award University College Cork
2009Elected Member, Royal Irish Academy Royal Irish Academy
2008UCC Commercialisation Award University College Cork
2005D.Sc National University of Ireland


 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
ILSI Europe Expert Group on 'Mechanisms of Probiotic Action' Member2014 /
European Food Safety Authority GMO Panel Member2003 / 2004
Foot and Mouth Advisory Committee Member2002 / 2003
Food Safety Authority of Ireland GMO Sub-Committee Chairperson1997 / 1999
Food Safety Authority of Ireland Scientific Committee Member1992 / 1999

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
American Society for Microbiology Academy Fellow01-JUN-10 /
American Academy of Microbiology Fellow01-JUN-10 /
International Association for Pre and Probiotics Board Member01-JUN-09 / 01-JUN-15
Royal Irish Academy Member16-MAR-09 /
Food Safety Authority of Ireland Scientific Committee01-JAN-97 / 01-JUN-09


 EmployerPositionFrom / To
UCC Professor of Microbial Food Safety01-JAN-08 /
UCC Associate Professor01-JAN-01 / 31-DEC-07
UCC Senior Lecturer01-JAN-92 / 31-DEC-00
Moorepark Senior Research Officer01-JAN-90 / 31-DEC-91


2005UCC Doctor of Science
1988UCC Ph.D.
1984UCC M.Sc.
1982UCC B.Sc.


 Patent NumberTitleGranted
07/577,954Bacteriophage resistant recombinant bacteria 01-JAN-10
07/578,660Phage defense rotation strategy 01-JAN-10
PCT/IE96/00022Bacteriocins. 01-JAN-95
980499.An anti-microbial effective against Gram-positive human pathogens 01-JAN-98
980500A spray-dried bacteriocin powder with antimicrobial activity 01-JAN-98
PCT/IE2004/0001Use of probiotic bacteria for the treatment of infection 01-JAN-05
S2005/0773.Antimicrobial Peptides and Bacterial Strains that produce them. 01-JAN-05
US 20110059060Thuricin, an antimicrobial specific for Clostridium difficile 31-DEC-10
WO 2009092790 AListeriolysin S as a chemotherapeutic agent 31-DEC-10
WO 2009092790 AScreening for Listeriolysin S Listeria Monocytogenes. 31-DEC-10
WO 2011076903 ADerivatives of Nisin with enhanced Anti-Microbial Activity. 31-DEC-10

Other Activities


List of Expert Assignments:

- Scientific Committee, Food Safety Authority of Ireland, since 1999, Re-appointed 2005.
- Microbiology Sub-Committee, Food Safety Authority of Ireland, 1996-2005.
- Chair, GMO and Novel Food Sub-Committee, since 1997.
- GMO Advisory Committee, Environmental Protection Agency, 1998-2001.
- Foot and Mouth Expert Advisory Group, Department of Agriculture, 2001-02.
- Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Welfare, Department of Agriculture, since 2001.
- European Food Safety Authority GMO Panel, 2003-2004.

I have acted as External Examiner to more than 20 PhD committees in the UK, The Netherlands, Norway, France, Spain, Sweden and Denmark.

I have given over 200 Research Seminars at conferences and as a guest lecturer.

Teaching Activities

Teaching Interests

Molecular biology of microorganisms of importance in foods.

Recent Postgraduates

 Graduation YearStudent NameInstitutionDegree TypeThesis Title
2014Harsh Mathur UCCPHDThuricin cd: a potential therapeutic targeted against clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea (cdad)
2014Lorraine Anne Draper UCCPHDInvestigation of Lantibiotic regulation, immunity and synergy
2014Eamon Culligan UCCPHDFunctional metagenomic analysis of the human gut microbiome to identify novel salt tolerance genes
2013Nease Wallace O Leary UCCMSc
2012Evelyn Molloy UCCPHDManipulation of Lantibiotics Using a Bioengineering Approach
2011Eileen O Shea UCCPHDAn Investigation of Antimicrobial Peptides Produced by Intestinal Lactobacillus salivarius Isolates
2011James Dalton UCCPHDDetection of Mycobacterium avium Subspecies Paratuberculosis and Risk Alleles associated with Crohn’s Disease in an Irish Cohort
2011Mary Clare Rea UCCPHD
2011Srinivasa Suna UCCPHDA Mutagenesis Based Functional Characterisation of the Lantibiotic Lacticin 3147
2011Kiera Considine UCCPHDMolecular Mechanisms for Coping with High Pressure in Listeria monocytogenes
2011Alleson Elaine Dobson UCCPHDThe Impact of the Broad-Spectrum Antimicrobial Peptide, Lacticin 3147 on Complex Microbial Communities
2011Sinead Heuston UCCPHDMolecular Analysis of Isoprenoid Biosynthetic Pathways in Listeria monocytogenes
2011Clare Piper UCCPHDInvestigating the Use of Natural and Bioengineered Lantibiotics against Clinical Pathogens
2011Ian Monk UCCPhD
2010Katja Klostermann UCCPHD
2010Barry Collins UCCPHD
2010Heather McLaughlin UCCPHD
2009Debbie Watson UCCPHD
2009Evelyn Clayton UCCPHD
2008Des Field UCCPHD
2007Sheila Ryan UCCPHD
2007Helena Stack UCCPHD
2007Rose Sexton UCCMSc
2007Eleanor Ryan UCCMSc

Current Postgraduate Students

 StudentDegree Type
O Reilly Catherine Doctoral Degree
Moloney Eimear Sinead Masters Degree by Research
Las Heras Vanessa Doctoral Degree
Mazhar Shahneela Doctoral Degree
Strain Ronan Doctoral Degree
Mc Mahon Aoife Doctoral Degree
Guerin Emma Doctoral Degree
Mc Hugh Aoife Jane Doctoral Degree
Callanan Julie Ellen Doctoral Degree
Coughlan Laura Maria Doctoral Degree
Uniacke-Lowe Shona Maria Masters Degree by Research
Lynch Mary Jane Doctoral Degree
Angelopoulou Angeliki Doctoral Degree
Sutton Thomas Doctoral Degree
Doyle Natasha Jessica Doctoral Degree
O Sullivan Julie Noreen Doctoral Degree
O Connor Michelle Doctoral Degree
Fitzgerald Cormac Brian Doctoral Degree
Collins Fergus William John Doctoral Degree
Lewis Rhea Joan Doctoral Degree
Ellis Jenna-Claire Doctoral Degree
Egan Kevin Sean Doctoral Degree

Modules Taught

 Term (ID))TitleLinkSubject
2020Microbial Food Safety MB4611Microbial Food Safety
2020Research Frontiers in Microbiology MB4027Research Frontiers in Microbiology
2020Microbial Food Safety MB4011Microbial Food Safety
2020Functional Foods for Health MB6103Functional Foods for Health
2020Introduction to Food Science and Technology FS1011Introduction to Food Science and Technology
2020Research Frontiers in Food Microbiology MB6027Research Frontiers in Food Microbiology
2020Dissertation in Food Microbiology MB6011Dissertation in Food Microbiology
2020Principles of Microbiology MB2006Principles of Microbiology
2020Microbial Food Safety MB4111Microbial Food Safety
2020Research Project MB4002Research Project
2020Functional Foods for Health MB6003Functional Foods for Health
2020Food Biotechnology MB4013Food Biotechnology
2020Food Biotechnology MB4113Food Biotechnology
2020Library Project in Food Microbiology MB6006Library Project in Food Microbiology

Contact details

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School of Microbiology

Scoil na Micribhitheolaíochta

Microbiology Office, Room FSB452, 4th Floor Food Science & Technology Building, University College Cork, Cork T12 K8AF