Microbial Diseases Research Group

Our research has significant focus on the involvement of microbial biofilms in a wide range of human infections including those of the oral cavity. We are actively involved in elucidating mechanisms of infection including the expression of microbial virulence factors, the impact of the entire microbial community in infection and the subsequent host immune responses that are elicited. In addition, significant research is devoted to the therapeutic approaches that can be used to prevent and combat biofilm related infection.

Current research investigates biofilm infections within the oral cavity (candidoses and endodontic disease), infections at other body sites that have involvement of oral microorganisms, and biofilm infections that show parallels with oral diseases such as those associated with chronic wounds, orthopaedic medical devices, and urinary and intravenous catheters.

To facilitate our research, we have dedicated facilities and equipment for the study of biofilms, and we closely associate with oral and medical microbiology laboratories, which enable access to clinical specimens for study and help identify clinical problems where our research can be directed.

Our research team has a diverse range of research experience and includes dedicated microbiologists, immunologists, biomaterial scientists and clinical scientists.

Collaborations

We enjoy extensive research collaboration with colleagues in the schools of Medicine, Engineering and Chemistry within Cardiff University. We also have strong connections with industrial partners and collaborations at a national and international level.

Current active external collaboration occurs with academic partners at:

Recent and ongoing research areas involving members of the microbial diseases team include:

  • investigations into the role of oral bacteria in modulating both the pathogenicity and host responses during Candida infection
  • the development of biofilm models to investigate the efficacy of denture cleansing agents
  • the role of the oral microbiome in endotracheal tube biofilm development
  • Dectin-1 mutation and its effects on commensal carriage of Candida species
  • development of 3D tissue culture models to evaluate microbial pathogenicity and effectiveness of antimicrobial agents.

Research funders

Our currently active research funders include:

Selected publications

Within the microbial diseases research team there are currently five active postgraduate (PhD) research projects:

'Denture acrylic biofilms: microbial composition, interactions and prevention' (Daniel Morse, GSK-EPSRC Case Award)

'Oral ecosystem modulation and association with pneumonia' (Joshua Twigg, Jointly supported by the Schools of Dentistry and Engineering at Cardiff University)

'Dynamics of microbial changes in the dental plaque of mechanically ventilated patients' (Kirsty Sands, supported by the School of Dentistry, Cardiff University)

'Candida and host cell interactions associated with colonisation and infection' (Helen Rogers, supported by Walport/Academic Clinical Fellowship)

'The role of the oral microbiome in development of endotracheal tube biofilms' (Paolo Marino, supported by Walport/Academic Clinical Fellowship)

Additional research projects are funded by industrial partners and the majority of these are directed towards novel approaches to inhibiting biofilm development on medical device surfaces including dentures, wound dressings and urinary catheters.

Academic staff

Dave Williams

Professor David Williams

Theme Lead for Oral and Biomedical Sciences, Professor of Oral Microbiology, School of Dentistry

Email:
williamsdd@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 29207 42548
Charlotte Emanuel

Dr Charlotte Emanuel

Clinical Lecturer in Oral Surgery

Email:
emanuelc@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 29207 45029
Mike Lewis

Professor Michael A O Lewis

Professor of Oral Medicine

Email:
lewismao@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2074 2541

John Potts

Clinical Reader in Oral Pathology, Senior Lecturer in Oral Pathology

Email:
pottsajc@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 29207 44239

Dr Melanie Wilson

Lead, Health & Safety, Senior Lecturer in Oral Microbiology

Email:
wilsonmj@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 29207 42548
Paul Milward

Paul Milward

Senior Lecturer in Dental Technology and Biomaterial Sciences

Email:
milward@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 29207 42518
x.wei

Dr Xiao-Qing Wei

Senior Lecturer in Immunology, School of Dentistry

Email:
weix1@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 29207 44529