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Microbial Disease

Human Oral Epithelium

Confocal laser scanning microscopy showing Candida albicans (red) infection of a reconstituted human oral epithelium.

Key findings, achievements and areas of work

  • A recent paper from the Wound Biology Group in the Dental School published in October’s Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy has been selected for the Journal Highlights section of Microbe, a sister publication from the American Society of Microbiology (ASM).  Journal Highlights selects five of the month's best journal papers from their thirteen ASM journal publications.  The paper, written by Prof. David Thomas and Dr Katja Hill, and funded by Algipharma AS, Norway, describes a low molecular weight, alginate nanomedicine (OligoG), derived from marine algae, which has distinct antibacterial and anti-biofilm properties.  OligoG is being developed for the treatment of chronic biofilm infections in several clinically important diseases including chronic lung disease and non-healing skin wounds in the elderly.  It is currently undergoing Phase IIa clinical trials in cystic fibrosis patients.  Selection of the paper for this prestigious honour marks it out as research of world class standard
  • Characterisation of the role of micro-organisms and host cell interaction in impaired healing (£425K Norwegian Research Council)
  • The development of novel polymers, preventing biofilm formation (£76K DoH) and novel approaches to the management of oral diseases e.g. orofacial herpes (£166K GSK)
  • The development of novel in vitro models to study skin/pathogen interaction and screen antimicrobial agents (£285K Johnson & Johnson; 2005 ETRS Young Investigator Award)
  • Rationalisation of antibiotic prescribing for acute oral conditions in primary care (£197K NHS R&D)
  • Molecular identification and pathogenicity of candida and clinical associations with disease
  • Molecular detection of micro-organisms within oral squamous cell carcinoma

Group Members

Peptide nucleic acid (PNA)-FISH

Peptide nucleic acid (PNA)-FISH showing differentiation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (yellow), Staphylococcus aureus (purple) and Microcoocus luteus (red).