Authors & contributors

Your wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do at OptiBac. We are the UK’s experts in good bacteria and our supplements are developed in the world’s leading laboratories.

All scientific content on the OptiBac website is written by highly qualified microbiologists, nutritionists and nutritional therapists. Our team of expert writers are here to guide you through all things friendly bacteria, provide expert nutritional advice and keep you up-to-date with the latest news, scientific findings and insights about gut health and the microbiome. Meet the team behind our blogs, FAQs and articles.

Technical team

Dr Aisling Dwyer MB BCh BAO (Medicine, Surgery and Obstetrics), MSc (Personalised Nutrition)​

Dr Aisling Dwyer

Aisling has a degree in medicine, surgery, and obstetrics and a master's degree in personalised nutrition. Her masters’ dissertation focused on the effects of the gastrointestinal microbiome on colonic motility with a specific emphasis on the role of probiotics. She is particularly interested in a holistic approach to health with a focus on optimising wellbeing and quality of life. Aisling is a proud representative for OptiBac in Ireland.

Dr Kate Stephens PhD (Food and Microbial Sciences) BSc(Hons) Medical Microbiology

Dr Kate Stephens

Kate gained a PhD from University of Reading in the microbiome research unit, in Prof Glenn Gibson’s research group, studying gut microbiology. The topic of her PhD thesis was ‘Synthesis and cholesterol lowering abilities of novel prebiotics using reverse enzyme synthesis from probiotic organisms’. This involved being highly skilled at exploring research, doing clinical trial analysis and scientific review writing. During her BSc, Kate studied a variety of topics, including: Microbiology, Molecular biology, Biochemistry, Human physiology, Cancer and Immunology. Kate also spent time working on bacteriophage therapy during her degree program. 

Fun fact: Kate genuinely thinks bacteria are cooler than people! Much more advanced and ahead of the game.

Ben Hook BSc (Hons) Nutrition ANutr – Nutritionist

Ben Hook

Ben studied Nutrition at Oxford Brookes University after deciding to specialise after 8 years being a Personal Trainer. He researched intermittent fasting in comparison to traditional restriction diets to aid in weight loss as his thesis and he still have a keen interest in sport and exercise nutrition.

Fun fact: Ben believes that brightly coloured food should be consumed in a varied diet. So much so he often wears a coat in the office to have his beetroot salads at lunch to avoid splashes.

Beverley Richards - Nutritional Therapist DipION

Optibac author Beverly

Beverley joined OptiBac Probiotics in 2018 and has established herself within the Nutrition team. She gained her qualification in Nutrition from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and combines her lifelong interest in health and wellness with a history of Customer Service. 

Beverley is a passionate cook and loves to create healthy recipes and experimenting with different ingredients. As well as cooking, she loves digging in the garden and growing her own vegetables, herbs and wild flower garden and believes that time spent in nature is vital to good health.

Claire Foss - Nutritional Therapist DiplON, mBANT, mCNHC

Claire Foss

Claire Foss is a registered Nutritional Therapist who specialises in female health and hormones. She studied at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and has a passion for health and well-being, believing that the route to balanced hormones and good health is through great nutrition and lifestyle choices. Food is our fuel and our lifestyle is our environment. What we eat and how we act, affects how we think, feel and perform. By making small changes, evidence-based nutrition can be used to support our hormones and steer us in the direction for optimal health.

Christina Georgallou BSc. Physiology NT Dip. CNM
Christina Georgallou

Christina is a creative spirit, specialising in Nutritional Therapy, with a keen interest in understanding how our bodies work with the aid of the microbial world within.

Dr Sasivimol Ahmed PhD, PG Dip (Personalised Nutrition), BSc (Food Science)

Dr Sasivimol Ahmed

Sasi is a registered nutritional therapist (rCNHC, mBANT) with a special interest in gut health. She also has a Food Science degree and earned a PhD in Biotechnology from University of Reading. Her PhD research focused mainly on Bacillus fermentation. She is passionate about functional food. In her previous academic career, she got involved in research on prebiotic and probiotic foods. She lives in Reading, Berkshire where she also practises nutritional therapy. She loves yoga and step aerobics as well as enjoys reading food magazines, writing nutrition articles and cooking healthy foods.

Joanna Scott-Lutyens BA (hons), DipION FdSc
Joanna Scott-Lutyens

Joanna has been studying or working in the area of health now for around 10 years. She has great experience in clinical work as a nutritional therapist, organisational work on the NHS and now presently in education and research within the private sector. She is passionate about all areas of health, giving people the best chance to be healthy and well in life, and passing on information, research and health education where she can.

Katie Wheaton DIP NT, (B.A.N.T) (CNHC)

Katie Wheaton

Katie is a registered nutritional therapist, and director of Katie's Mindful Kitchen. She is also a certified DNA life practitioner in the area of nutrigenomics which looks at the effects of nutrients on the regulation of gene expression. Katie uses a combination of Nutritional Therapy and Functional Medicine (which combines nutrition and health science) to support optimum health, as well as the traditional practices of naturopathic nutrition.

She has been in clinical practice for three years, with a special interest in gut health. Alongside her nutrition programmes she works as a plant based chef bringing delicious, nourishing, balanced meals to retreats, events, and workshops. Katie loves feeding her gut bacteria with a diverse rainbow diet and believes that 'your microbiome has your back!', so it's important to eat with them in mind.

Kerry Beeson BSc (Nut. Med.) Nutritional Therapist

Kerry Beeson

Kerry is a fully qualified nutritional therapist; she studied Nutritional Medicine at the University of West London, and her training encompasses naturopathy, nutritional therapy, functional medicine, and kinesiology. She is also a trained Metabolic Balance Coach. Kerry leads our fantastic Nutrition team at OptiBac, where she specialises in microbiome support, and spends most of her days talking about vaginas and bowel movements. She is also very creative, with a background in art and music, but her favourite form of creative expression is writing: she has been contributing to both mainstream and health industry publications for years, and is also the Content Manager at OptiBac.

She loves being out in nature and keeps fit by walking, making intermittent visits to the gym, and tidying up after her two errant cats. When the weather’s bad you’ll find her indoors writing something, or reading about nutrition, ancient history and fringe science with a cat on her lap.

Megan Crowch BSc (Hons) Physiology, Dip Herbal Medicine, Dip Naturopathy
Megan Crowch

Megan has been with OptiBac for over 6 years now in a technical capacity, alongside this she is a herbal medicine practitioner. Prior to this she had 3+ years’ experience working in a clinical research organisation, and a few years working in health shops whilst training as a herbalist. Megan loves preparing and eating good food, walking her dog and ducking into hedgerows to see what herbs are growing there. Finally, she makes sure she’s chilling out sometimes, too, to rest her gut-brain axis.

Laura Ryan BSc (Hons) Psychology, DipCNM NT, mBANT, CNHC Dip CNM Naturopathic Nutritional Therapy BSc Psychology (Hons)
Laura Ryan

Laura has been a part of the OptiBac team for nearly 5 years. She started as a sales rep in London while studying nutritional therapy at CNM and then moved into the ‘Technical team’ where she’s been for over 3 years now. Her job keeps her up to date with research developments on the human microbiome, it also lets Laura put her creativity to good use when working on new products and training materials. It’s a very exciting time for this industry, with all the scientific discoveries being made. Laura’s key interest is women’s health and mental health because it affects us all. She studied psychology and nutritional therapy, so she’s excited to see research on the gut brain axis reveal more and more about the role of bacteria in our behaviour and mood.

Laura Slattery BSc Food Science and Health, NT Dip CNM
Laura Slattery

Laura graduated with an Honours Degree in Food Science and Health (BSc) from the University of Limerick. After working for several years as a Food Microbiologist for a global food manufacturer, she returned to study her true passion: nutrition. She graduated top of her class as an accredited Nutritional Therapist from the College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2015.

She has experienced first-hand the impact hidden food intolerances can have on everyday life – from low energy levels, poor digestive health and skin irritations to overall physical and mental wellbeing.

She is passionate about helping people to understand how small changes to diet and lifestyle can bring huge benefits to their lives.

Laura previously worked alongside other Nutritional therapists seeing clients with a myriad of symptoms before joining the OptiBac Probiotics team three years ago as a Sales and Training representative in the West of Ireland.

Kathy Wheddon Nutritional Therapist DipION
Kathy Wheddon

Kathy qualified as a Nutritional Therapist from ION in 2005. She has worked part time as a Nutritional Therapist ever since, but the amount of time she has dedicated to it has fluctuated a lot over the years, depending on where else she is working. Nowadays, Kathy sees occasional clients, as and when they find her, making sure she stays on top of the relevant knowledge within the field. In her own words; ‘If a client finds me, I feel that the universe thinks I am the right person to help them’.

She wrote her dissertation on ‘the role of antioxidants in preventing and reversing cognitive decline in later years’, however since then Kathy has become more and more interested in the role of nutrition in preventing cancer and supporting cancer patients, she has attended several seminars and CPD lectures on this topic. She holds the absolute belief that if we give our body the support and nutrition it needs, we can overcome or at least improve most health challenges.

Fun fact: she is a complete supplement junkie, and takes 17 different types a day, spending most of her wages on them!

Brendan O'Loughlin MASc(Acupuncture) BHSc(Naturopathy) Yoga & Meditation Instructor

Brendan O’Loughlin is an integrative naturopath, nutritionist and yoga teacher. He has completed training in Naturopathy, Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Yoga, Iridology and Live Blood Analysis and continues to crave understanding about how other systems of medicine and therapy can help to optimise our health, attitude, adaptability and equanimity. This passion has taken him around the world, having practised and studied in Australia, India, Asia and the United Kingdom.

While influenced heavily by the understandings and techniques of various cultures and systems, his approach with clients has always focused on helping people implement lasting dietary and lifestyle habits and encouraging them to better manage their own health and future wellbeing.

Lifestyle team

Jacob Collyer-Smith
Jacob Collyer-Smith

Jacob is a long-standing member of the OptiBac team. He has a fascination in emerging science around friendly bacteria. In his spare time he is a keen runner, loves a long dog walk in the countryside, and has recently started bouldering & climbing this year.

Sam Ter Haar

Sam Ter Haar

Sam is our video, photograph and graphic design whizz at OptiBac. His passion for good food and great holidays always mean he’s the best person to go to for a recommendation. Sam is also a big film fanatic, and is always free for a session of bouldering.

Penny Archer
Penny Archer

Penny is one of the creatives in the Brand team at OptiBac. She has an interest in learning more about how we can all help prevent potential health problems of the future with the power of nutrition. In her spare time she enjoys running, loves to be by the sea or hiking in the countryside.

Elisha Iveson

Elisha Iveson

Elisha is our social media expert and is all about making wellbeing accessible; whether that's walking with her basset hound Winnie, reading a good book or adding simple daily steps to help look after her gut health. You can usually find her somewhere posting an Instagram story or writing up fresh copy for our website. Plus, she's our go-to girl in the office for a phone charger!

Leona Beeson

Leona Beeson

Leona began working for OptiBac in her gap year after sixth form and loved it so much she's taken the job with her to university, where she's studying Psychology. She loves writing, and acts as Assistant Content Editor as well as a content writer. Her passions include exploring the world and the great outdoors, good music, and environmentalism.