March 3, 2024

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

Meet Grace Barker, a PhD student looking at our microbiome and bacteria
Interview with Grace Barker

Grace Barker is a third year PhD student in the Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction at Imperial College London.

She studies the metabolic interactions between an individual’s body and the gut microbiome, the microbial life that lives in our body. She uses nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometry (MS) to understand how diets, specifically supplemented fibre influence the development of colorectal cancer (CRC).

Collaborations connect Grace’s work to communities around the world, including a project working with a community in Alaska that show a higher risk to CRC due to a high consumption of meat and low levels of fibre in their diet. Supplementing their diet with fibre should help guide Grace and her collaborators to better understand the overall effects of fibre supplementation on lowering CRC risk.

We also discuss Grace’s life as a PhD student, some of her hobbies and what she thinks makes her a scientist.

Extra information on the National Phenome Centre (NPC), mentioned can be found here –

As with Isabelle, I also thanked Grace with cake. If you’d like to be interviewed as part of our series of The Voices Behind Science, please email

We promise to have a lockdown friendly thank you that’s just as good as cake!

photo of Queen's tower at Imperial campus
Pre-lockdown photo of Queens Tower in Imperial College, the university where Grace is based.

Lydia Melville is studying for an MSc in Science Communication at Imperial College London, and is a sub-editor for I, Science.