Dr Katja Hill

Dr Katja Hill

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

School of Dentistry

Mae'r cynnwys hwn ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig.

Research Theme

Oral and Biomedical Sciences

Research Group 

Advanced Therapies Group

Overview

In the last 9 years since becoming an independent researcher, as part of the Advanced Therapeutics Group here in the School of Dentistry, I have had over £2 million in research funding.  This has included industrial funding from a long-standing collaboration (over 9 years) with Algipharma AS, and a more recent collaboration with the Life Sciences company, Qbiotics Ltd; both projects involving undertaking translational research into novel antimicrobial compounds.  Further research funding has also come from the Norwegian Research Council funding the industrial partnership with Algipharma AS and collaboration with the Paper Research Institute (PFI), Trondheim. 

My current anti-biofilm research involves translation of research to clinical practice using a novel oligosaccharide antimicrobial derived from seaweed, OligoG (in conjunction with the biopharmaceutical company Algipharma AS, Norway) which offers the opportunity for new approaches to the management of human chronic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  This first oligosaccharide nanomedicine to treat multi-drug resistant gram-negative & biofilm-related infection in man has been patented, seeing translation from the laboratory into patients in less than 10 years.  OligoG is safe for human use and has recently completed Phase 2b clinical studies in cystic fibrosis patients.  Work is ongoing to elucidate the mode of action of OligoG.  The Advanced Therapeutics Group recently won the prestigious Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Award in Medicine (2017) for our research in this area. 

Further funding from the Norwegian Research council has financed a project involving the development of biocompatible cellulose nanomaterials (derived from wood pulp) for advanced wound healing applications in conjunction with the Paper Research Institute (PFI), Trondheim.  The ability of these nanofibres (from renewable sources) to interact with complementary polymers and form novel material structures for use in applications as diverse as wound dressings and graft scaffolds for tissue engineering in a range of human diseases has formed the basis of our on-going research.  Furthermore, testing of these prototype dressing materials

More recently, in collaboration with the life sciences company Qbiotics Ltd, Queensland, Australia I have begun a new study looking at a series of natural and semi-synthetic compounds derived from the Queensland rainforest, which have considerably efficacy in wound healing, to characterise their antibacterial/antibiofilm properties.

Research Interests

I have had a keen research interest in Wound Healing for many years.  My early research focused on wound microbiology and ecology, and defining the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in impaired wound healing in chronic, non-healing wounds.  In this, I attempted to investigate both the disease association of specific bacterial groups and the relationship between microbial bio-burden and healing in these chronic wounds.  This included the use of culture-independent approaches to clinical microbiology and the involvement of uncultivable prokaryotes in wounds.  The specific role of antimicrobial resistance and bacterial virulence of MRSA in particular, in these hard-to-treat wounds has also been investigated.  More recently, my work has focused on biofilms in wounds, including the use of in vitro tissue models to assess the invasive properties of Candida albicans and antimicrobial testing of in vitro wound biofilms and wound dressing materials.

Recent Biography

CARDIFF UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY, CARDIFF, U.K.

Oral and Biomedical Sciences

SENIOR POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOW: 

  • Independent Researcher and Lecturer (2009-to date) 
  • EPSRC: Development of an intelligent wound dressing to measure bacterial numbers and diversity in chronic wounds in real time. (2006 – 2009)

 WOUND HEALING RESEARCH UNIT, UWCM. CARDIFF, U.K.

POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOW

  • Johnson & Johnson: Commercial Funding: Investigating the role of bacterial biofilms in chronic wounds using in vitro modelling. (2003 – 2005)

 

UNIVERSITY OF WALES COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, CARDIFF, U.K.

POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE

Department of Oral Surgery Medicine and Pathology, Dental School, Heath Park

  • Research into Ageing: A prospective characterisation of the microflora in chronic wounds using both cultural & molecular techniques. (1999-2003) 

Honours and awards

Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Award in Medicine, 2017 

Current Teaching

MSc Implantology (Cellular and Molecular Biology)

  • Module lead
  • Microbiology teaching
  • Exam setting and marking
  • Project supervision 

MSc Oral Biology

  • Microbiology teaching

Current Research Projects 

  • Qbiotics (2016-2018) Undertaking translational research characterising and testing novel and semi-synthetic antimicrobial compounds from the Australian rainforest.
  • BIA formulations (2015-2019)  Developing the “second generation” of our polymer therapeutics, for use in wound healing and medical device coatings to Phase 1 studies.
  • Tailored OligoG (2013-2017)  Characterising structure/activity relationships of the oligosaccharide nanomedicines; from molecular modelling to designing candidate structures through large-scale synthesis and pre-clinical testing.
  • Nanoheal (2012-2016)  To design, synthesize and test novel nanomaterials based on nanocellulose as barriers and novel dressing materials and modification of the surface with 3-dimensional printing to modify cellular responses.