Dr Henry Greathead


I joined the University of Leeds as a Lecturer in Animal Production Science in December 1998.

I obtained my PhD from the University of Nottingham in 1997 while working as a research assistant. I spent two years working in industry for a contract research organisation before joining the University of Leeds.


  • Admission Tutor

Research interests

Livestock consume an estimated 35% of the world's cereal crop, enough to feed an estimated 3.5 billion people. Ruminant animals, e.g. cattle, beef and sheep, are able to produce meat and milk without consuming human foods. They can be produced off the pastures of marginal land otherwise unsuitable for the growing of human foods, and high fibre agro-industrial byproducts, such as cereal straws. This is because they can digest structural carbohydrates associated with plant fibre, e.g. cellulose, due to the activity of the microbial population that live in their forestomachs, the largest of which is the rumen. Unfortunately there is a price to pay for this ability and that is in the form of methane; of the estimated 14.5% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions attributed to livestock production, 39% is from enteric fermentation of ruminant animals (FAO, 2013).

Our main research interests relate to fermentative digestion in the gut, primarily the rumen of cattle. We are interested in processes asociated with the digestion of fibre and the factors that determine the efficiency of fibre digestion. We investigate novel ways of manipulating the rumen microbial community (microbiota), e.g. by exploitng the bioactive properties of plant seondary compounds, and thus fermentation pathways and methane emission. We are also interested in interactions between the animal and its microbiota. We primarily use a batch culture in vitro fermentation model of the rumen for our work. We routinely measure fermentation end-products (e.g. VFAs, methane) and use 16S rRNA gene sequencing to study the rumen microbiota.

Food from fibre.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • R. Anim. Sci. (BSAS)
  • PhD Fat and protein metabolism in cattle fed on grass silage
  • BSc (Hons) Animal Science

Professional memberships

  • British Society of Animal Science
  • Nutrition Society
  • Higher Education Academy (Fellow)

Student education

I teach all levels of our undergraduate degree programmes on topics ranging from general livestock production issues, such as challenges for the livestock industry, sustainabe intensification of livestock production and extensive systems of livestock production, to more specialised topics in animal nutrition, such as digestive physiology, nutrient absorption and metabolism, and microbial fermentative digestion and metabolism in ruminant animals.

Undergraduate project topics:

  • Gut fermentation

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • Ruminant nutrition

See also:

Academic roles:

  • UG Admissions Tutor - School of Biology programmes


  • Member of Taught Student Recruitment Group
  • Member of Undergraduate School Taught Student Education Committee
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://biologicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/research-opportunities">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>