Adam is a Research Student working out of the Lung & Particles Research Group (LPRG) and reading for a Masters of Research in Biosciences. His thesis is entitled "Future Applications for Bioreactive Clay Minerals: Bio-terrorism & Decontamination” and focusses on the common biowarfare agent Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax).
He previously graduated with a Bachelors of Science (Biochemistry, 2017) from Cardiff University. He additionally sits as a member of the Engagement Committee of the Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair.
Collaborators & Supervisors
Dr Kelly BéruBé (School of Biosciences, Cardiff University) (Principal Supervisor)
Professor Les Baillie (School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Science, Cardiff University)
Dr Tim Jones (School of Earth & Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University)
Dr Joanne Thwaite (Defence Science & Technology Laboratory, Ministry of Defence)
Dr James Blaxland (School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Science, Cardiff University)
STEM Ambassador (STEM Ambassador Hub Wales)
CITER Engagement Activities
"Future Applications for Bioreactive Clay Minerals: Bio-terrorism & Decontamination"
Adam’s thesis focusses on the uses of Bio-reactive clay minerals as antimicrobial agents for use against the vegetative cells and spores of the pathogen Bacillus anthracis. Primarily considering its uses for deployment for decontamination after Bio-terrorism attacks and in areas were Anthrax is a common pathogen, such as agricultural regions of developing countries. These clay minerals are isolated from basaltic terrains and are expected to produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) activity. These clay minerals will additionally be tested using in-vitro lung tissue models to test for incompatibility with human and animal survival.
B. anthracis is a gram positive, non-motile, obligate pathogen of the B. cereus group; that infects humans and livestock in a zoonotic fashion. It produces hardy spores resistant to: desiccation; high temperature; high pressure; pH; UV and ionising radiation; and low nutrient levels in the surrounding environment. Thus, B. anthracis spores can survive in soil and other medium without succumbing to natural environmental pressures, and act as an effective method of survival where the environment is unfavourable to vegetative growth.
Spores infect all hosts by entering the body by inhalation (pulmonary/inhalational anthrax), ingestion (gastrointestinal anthrax), or skin lesion (cutaneous anthrax). Once inside the body the spores germinate into vegetative bacilli and reproduce abundantly.
B. anthracis is specified a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) / Specialised Animal Pathogens Hazard Group 3 (SAPO-3) pathogen. Sterne strain is rated SAPO-2, and is handled in the Baillie Laboratory.
Anthrax as a Bioterrorism Agent
The ability to aerosolise the spores of B. anthracis makes them a potent agent for both bioterrorism and biowarfare. The fecundity and ease of culturing of Anthrax makes it especially useful as a weapon; one that would remain active and infectious for decades. Of primary concern in terrorist or biowarfare scenarios is that the most dangerous presentation, inhalational anthrax, is especially difficult to differentiate from Influenza in early stages. It is often found that by the time the bacterium is identified, it is too late to treat the patient effectively.