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Characterisation and evaluation of anti-biofilm complexes on biofilms in reference to wound and medical devices related infections

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  • Full or part time
    Prof M Camara
    Prof S Percival
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project Overview:
Biofilms that grow on medical devices and within both acute and chronic wounds represent a major concern to healthcare. Biofilms found in wounds in particular are considered to delay wound healing and increase the risk of a local and systemic infection (sepsis) due to their recalcitrance to presently used antimicrobial interventions. 1,2,3

New advanced smart multi-modulatory technologies that can be used to kill microorganisms, disrupt biofilms, inhibit quorum sensing molecules and treat the conditions biofilms cause do not exist in the medical device markets and are therefore urgently required in healthcare considering the growth of heathcare associated infections (HCAIs). Traditionally, the approach to reduce the risk of microbial attack has been focussed on the development of new antimicrobial agents that are not specifically designed to be effective on biofilms.

This project will involve the characterisation, development and evaluation of new next generation smartly triggered antibiofilm technologies and biomaterials, for use in medical devices and wound care. This project will focus specifically on next generation antibiofilm complexes that have been developed by the 5D Health Protection Group Ltd that have been designed to be a ‘game changer’ in the area of biofilm prevention, control and management.4 Initially the focus of this project will be on the characterisation and novel biochemical characteristics of the antibiofilm complexes. In particular understanding how the antibiofilm agents can be smartly released in changing conditions within a biofilm and wound e.g. high levels of exudate, enzymes and pH changes. The project will also investigate the efficacy of the antibiofilm complexes on mono-culture and mixed culture biofilms, developing new biofilm models, investigating their ability to reduce and breakdown the EPS of the biofilm, interfere with bacterial mechanisms involved in biofilm formation including quorum sensing signaling pathways, investigate the anti-inflammatory capabilities and ability to cause the down-regulation/modulation of proteases, in particular matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs).

Microbiology and molecular biology, analytical chemistry, biofilms models and analysis, antimicrobial efficacy testing, advanced microscopy, quorum sensing signalling analysis, biochemistry of metabolic pathways

School of Life Sciences:
The University of Nottingham is one of the world’s most respected research-intensive universities, ranked 8th in the UK for research power (REF 2014). Students studying in the School of Life Sciences will have the opportunity to thrive in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment, with expert supervision from leaders in their field, state-of-the-art facilities and strong links with industry. Students are closely monitored in terms of their personal and professional progression throughout their study period and are assigned academic mentors in addition to their supervisory team. The School provides structured training as a fundamental part of postgraduate personal development and our training programme enables students to develop skills across the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). During their studies, students will also have the opportunity to attend and present at conferences around the world. The School puts strong emphasis on the promotion of postgraduate research with a 2-day annual PhD research symposium attended by all students, plus academic staff and invited speakers.

Applicants should send a CV and cover letter to Charlotte May ([Email Address Removed]) before applying to the School of Life Sciences.

Funding Notes

Project Funding: 5D Health Protection Group Ltd. and The University of Nottingham under the umbrella of the National Biofilms Innovation Centre.


1. Percival SL, Salisbury AM, Chen R. (2019) Silver, Biofilms and wounds: resistance revisited. Crit Rev Microbiol. Feb 22:1-15. doi: 10.1080/1040841X.2019.1573803.
2. Percival SL. (2017) Importance of biofilm formation in surgical infection. Br J Surg. 104(2):e85-e94.
3. Percival SL, Hill KE, Williams DW, Hooper SJ, Thomas DW, Costerton JW. (2012) A review of the scientific evidence for biofilms in wounds. Wound Repair Regen. Sep-Oct;20(5):647-57.
4. Percival SL, Salisbury AM. (2018) The efficacy of tetra sodium EDTA on biofilms. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1057:101-110.

How good is research at University of Nottingham in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 90.86

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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