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Dr Katja Hill

Dr Katja Hill

Senior Lecturer in Oral Microbiology

+44 (0)29 225 10661
Room 5F.04, University Dental Hospital, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XY
Available for postgraduate supervision


With a long standing interest in wound healing, 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.  This research pioneered analysis of the wound microflora using culture-independent 16S rRNA molecular analysis.  

My current research involves translation to clinical practice of 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 is currently in Phase IIb/III clinical studies in cystic fibrosis patients.  Work is ongoing to elucidate the mode of action of OligoG.  

More recently, in collaboration with the life sciences company Qbiotics Ltd, Queensland, Australia, I have been characterising the antibacterial/antibiofilm properties of a series of natural and semi-synthetic compounds derived from the Queensland rainforest, which have already been shown to have considerable efficacy in wound healing as immunomodulators.


Recent Biography

  • (2019) Senior Lecturer (Oral microbiology), Cardiff University School of Dentistry, Cardiff, U.K
  • (2017) Lecturer (Oral Microbiology), Cardiff University School of Dentistry, Cardiff, U.K
  • (2006 - 2017) Senior Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (Independent Researcher)

Honours and awards

  • MediWales Award for Innovation, 2018.
  • Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Award in Medicine, 2017

Professional memberships

  • American Society for Microbiology (ASM)

Academic positions

Senior Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

  • (2006 - 2009) EPSRC: Development of an intelligent wound dressing to measure bacterial numbers and diversity in chronic wounds in real time. Cardiff University School of Dentistry, Cardiff, U.K.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate

  • (2003 - 2005)  Johnson & Johnson: Investigating the role of bacterial biofilms in chronic wounds using in vitro modelling. Wound Healing Research Unit, UWCM, Cardiff, U.K.
  • (1999 - 2003)  Research into Ageing: A prospective characterisation of the microflora in chronic wounds using both cultural & molecular techniques. Oral Surgery Medicine and Pathology, Dental School, UWCM, Cardiff, U.K.
  • (1996 – 1999)  European Union Grant:  Microbial adaptation to degradation of natural and synthetic organohalogens.  School of Biosciences, University of Wales College Cardiff, U.K.  
  • (1993 – 1996)  European Union Grant:  The plasmid carrying and gene mobilising capacity of different European soils. School of Biosciences, University of Wales College Cardiff, U.K.  

Higher Education Qualifications 

  • 2014  PGCE(PCET) Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Cardiff University) Distinction
  • 1992  Ph.D.  Microbiology (University of Wales College Cardiff)  
  • 1987  B.Sc (Hons) Applied Biology (UWIST) Class 2.1 

Speaking engagements

  • GW4 Crucible, Cardiff, 10th March 2020
  • CITER Biofilms workshop: Finding Solutions for Sticky Problems. Cardiff, May 2018 
  • ICAAC 2016 (ASM Microbe), Boston, USA, June 16-20, 2016
  • The British Society for Oral and Dental Research (BSODR), Bath, UK, 9-11 September 2013 

Recent Conference Abstracts

With over 50 published abstracts from National and International Conferences, only the most recent are given here.

ASM Microbe, San Francisco, June 20-14th 2019 

  • Lydia C. Powell, Manon F. Pritchard, Saira Khan, Wenya Xue, Katja E. Hill , Paul Reddell, David W Thomas.  An In Vitro Study of the Direct Antimicrobial Effects of Small Molecule Epoxy-Tiglianes Against Dermal Wound Pathogens.
  • C. Powell, J. Stokniene, M.Abdulkarim, K. E. Hill, P. Reddell, M. Gumbleton, D. W Thomas. The In Vitro Ability of Two Small Molecule Epoxy-tiglianes to Modify Biofilm Formation and Disrupt the 3-D Structure of Established Biofilms 
  • Abdulkarim,L. C. Powell, J. Stokniene, O. B. Spiller, T. R. Walsh, K. E. Hill, D. W Thomas, M. Gumbleton.  Development of a Multiple Particle Tracking (MPT) Biofilm Model to Detect the Mechanical & Micro-Rheological Effects of Antibiotic Treatment  

European Cystic Fibrosis Conference, Liverpool, June 5-8th 2019 

  • Stokniene, D. W. Thomas, P. D. Rye, K. E. Hill, E. L. Ferguson. OligoG Conjugation Inhibits Bacterial Growth and Reduces Cytotoxicity of Colistin and Polymyxin B 

Committees and reviewing

  • (2019) Dental School Research Ethics Committee (DSREC)
  • (2019) GW4 Crucible Selection Panel
  • (2018) Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDI)
  • Grant Reviewer, MRC, Italian Cystic Fibrosis Research Foundation
  • Journal Reviewer,  Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Microbiology, Journal of Wound Care, Archives of Microbiology, British Journal of Dermatology, Wound Repair and Regeneration, Veterinary Dermatology, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.



























  • Hill, K. E., Marchesi, J. R. and Fry, J. C. 1996. Conjugation in the epilithon. In: Akkermans, A. D. L., Van Elsas, J. D. and de Bruijn, F. J. eds. Molecular Microbial Ecology Manual. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dortrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 125-152., (10.1007/978-94-009-0215-2_9)






Current Teaching

MSc Implantology  

  • Module lead for DET028 (Cellular and Molecular Biology) 
  • Teaching DET028 Cellular and Molecular Biology 
  • Summative assessment  Oral presentations, Exam setting and marking, MSc Project supervision 

MSc Oral Biology 

  • Teaching  DET035 Microorganisms in Oral Diseases 
  • Summative assessment Exam setting and marking  

Dental Surgery (BDS) 

  • Summative assessment Poster oral presentations, Extended essays (setting and marking), Final Year Project supervision, Final Year Project marking 


2014 Post-graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE [PCET]) 

Current Research Projects 

  • Reckitt-Benckiser (2022) Documenting the antimicrobial and antiviral effects of hexylresorcinol (Co-Investigator; £190,000).
  • Research Council of Norway (RCN)/AlgiPharma AS, Sandvika, Norway (2018-2023)  Alginate oligomers: overcoming obstacles in drug delivery and antibiotic resistance (Mucos-Alg). (Co-Investigator; £297,397). 
  • Welsh European Funding Office (KESSII)/ AlgiPharma AS, Sandvika, Norway (2019-2022)  Developing novel technologies to model the effects of therapies on bacterial biofilms.  (Co-Investigator; £39,911).  
  • Qbiotics Ltd, Queensland, Australia (2019-2022) Characterisation of novel epoxy-tigliane therapeutics in treatment of multi-drug resistant (MDR) wound and implant infections (Co-Investigator; £151,978). 

Previous Research

  • Welsh European Funding Office (KESSII)/Cultech Ltd, Port Talbot (2018-2019)  Harnessing antimicrobial bacteriocin production of probiotic bacteria. (Principal Investigator; £14,596).   
  • British Skin Foundation (2018-2019)  Oral exosomes as a novel treatment for chronic skin wound infections (Co-Investigator; £40,323).  
  • Research Council of Norway (RCN)/AlgiPharma AS, Sandvika, Norway (2015-2019)  BIA formulations:  Developing the “second generation” of our polymer therapeutics, for use in wound healing and medical device coatings to Phase 1 studies. (Co-Investigator; £393,521).
  • Qbiotics Ltd, Queensland, Australia (2016-2018)  Translational research characterising and testing novel and semi-synthetic antimicrobial compounds from the Australian rainforest.  (Co-Investigator; £283,627).
  • Research Council of Norway (RCN)/AlgiPharma AS, Sandvika, Norway (2013-2017)  Tailored OligoG: Characterising structure/activity relationships of the oligosaccharide nanomedicines; from molecular modelling to designing candidate structures through large-scale synthesis and pre-clinical testing.  (Co-Investigator; £787,819).
  • Research Council of Norway (RCN)/Paper & Fibre Institute (PFI), Trondheim, Norway (2012-2016)  Nanoheal: Bio-compatible cellulose nanostructures for advanced wound healing applications.  (Co-Investigator; £130,755).
  • Algipharma AS, Sandvika, Norway (2007-2014) Antimicrobial testing of Pseudomonas biofilms  (Principal Investigator; £674,102). 
  • Royal College of Surgeons (2011-2013) The ability of a novel oligosaccharide polymer therapy to modulate the viability adhesion and biofilm formation of oral bacteria on dental material substrates in vitro. (Co-Investigator; £9,900). 

Total award value of funding KE Hill as PI or Co-I (2006-2019)  £5,959,694


I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Microbiology
  • Wound healing
  • Antibiofilm therapeutics
  • Antimicrobial resistance

Current PGR students

Jennifer Adams

JingXiang Wu

  • PROJECT: Dissecting the mechanobiology of bacteria and biofilms in colistin resistance
  • FUNDING: China Scholarship Council-Cardiff University (CSC-CU) Joint Scholarship with QBiotics Ltd

Past projects

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

  • Wenya Xue (Co-supervisor, 50%):  Characterisation of Novel Epoxy-tigliane Therapeutics in Treatment of Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) Wound and Implant Infections (Awarded 2022)
  • Joana Stokniene (Co-Supervisor, 33%): The Design and Assembly of Tailored Oligosaccharides as Polymer Therapeutics for Improved Treatment of Chronic Respiratory Disease (Awarded 2019)
  • Manon Pritchard (Co-Supervisor, 50%): OligoG Alginate Nanomedicine Mediated Disruption of Mucin Barriers and Microbial Biofilms (Awarded 2014)
  • Charlotte Emanuel (Co-Supervisor, 50%): Molecular and Cellular Characterisation of Staphylococcus aureus in Chronic Wounds (Awarded 2011)
  • Sladjana Malic (Co-Supervisor, 50%): The In Vitro Development and Characterisation of two Clinically Important Biofilms (Awarded 2008)
  • Charlotte Davies (Co-Supervisor, 33%): The Comprehensive Analysis of the Microbial Community of Clincially Non-Infected Chronic Venous Leg Ulceres (Awarded 2002)

Doctor of Medicine (MD)

  • Ruth McKee (Co-Supervisor, 33%): The Role of Bacterial Biofilms in Non-Healing Wounds (Awarded 2007)

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

  • Tamsin Joyce (Lead supervisor, 33%) Harnessing Antimicrobial Bacteriocin Production of Probiotic Bacteria (Awarded 2020)

Master of Science (MSc)

  • Aamir Razzak (Awarded 2022: Distinction)
  • Sonam Geltsen (Awarded 2020: Distinction)
  • Neel Kapur (Awarded 2020: Distinction)
  • Zeeshan Faiz (Awarded 2020: Merit)
  • Xu (Shirley) Wang (Awarded 2019: Merit)
  • Alice Clearly (Awarded 2018: Distinction)
  • Yuan Chun Kwan (Awarded 2018: Distinction)
  • Wenya Xue (Awarded 2017: Distinction)
  • JingXiang Wu (Awarded 2017: Distinction)
  • Mohammad K. Alhomsi (Awarded 2016: Pass)
  • Hina Sadh (Awarded 2016: Merit)
  • Himanshu Kishnani (Awarded 2016: Pass)
  • Sahar Ali (Awarded 2015: Pass)
  • Loukas Platsas (Awarded 2013: Pass)
  • Warren Davies (Awarded 2013)
  • Georgios Michailidis (Awarded 2010: Pass)

Personal Tutor

  • 2020-2023  DH&T STUDENTS