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Combating biofilm antimicrobial resistance

A group of multidisciplinary researchers, we have the common research goal of preventing biofilm mediated infections that may arise following the use of an implanted medical device.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when administered antibiotics do not result in eradication of infection. Elevated tolerance to antimicrobials is a property of microorganisms when growing as biofilms and this frequently occurs on the surfaces of implanted medical devices.

Our approach is to present novel anti-biofilm chemistries on the surfaces of biomaterials to generate colonisation resistant materials (CRMs). CRMs will inhibit the attachment or kill adherent microorganisms, thereby preventing viable biofilms formation. A range of antimicrobials, tailored by flexible syntheses can also be incorporated into the bulk matrix of biomaterials to facilitate controlled and stimulated release.

A further aspect of our research explores electromagnetic radiation to disrupt established biofilms and stimulate release of our antimicrobial actives.

Scanning electron micrograph of a mixed species microbial biofilm on an acrylic biomaterial
Scanning electron micrograph of a mixed species microbial biofilm on an acrylic biomaterial.

About biofilms

Biofilms can be defined as microbial communities that are mostly attached to solid substrates with the microorganisms being embedded in a self-produced extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). Biofilms are highly resistant to external threats and unsurprisingly are the preferred form of microbial growth in the natural environment.


Our researchers are from three Universities (Cardiff, Swansea and Greenwich), the NHS and industry (MBi Wales Ltd) and encompass microbiologists, immunologists, chemists, engineers, clinicians and bioinformaticians.

Principal investigator

Professor David Williams

Professor David Williams

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

+44 (0)2922510654

Research team

Name Expertise Establishment
Dr Ian Fallis Inorganic Chemistry Cardiff University
Dr Nancy Dervisi Inorganic Chemistry Cardiff University
Professor Alastair J Sloan Bone Biology and Tissue Engineering Cardiff University
Dr Melanie Wilson Oral Microbiology Cardiff University
Dr Jonathan Lees Microwave Engineering Cardiff University
Professor Adrian PorchElectromagnetics, Biomaterials and Mechanical Testing Cardiff University
Professor Sam Evans Microwave Sensing/Disruption Cardiff University
Dr Ann Smith Bioinformatics and Data Analysis Cardiff University
Dr Thomas S. Wilkinson Microbiology and Infectious Disease Swansea University
Mr Paul Milward Dental Technology and Biomaterial Sciences Cardiff University
Dr Matt Wise Critical Care University Hospital of Wales
Dr Xiao-Qing Wei Immunology Cardiff University
Dr Joel Loveridge NMR Spectroscopy Cardiff University
Professor Peter Griffiths Drug Delivery University of Greenwich
Dr Stephen Jones Hip Implant Development and Evaluation Cardiff University
Professor Julian R Marchesi Human Microbiome Cardiff University
Professor Oliver Williams Diamond Nanoparticles Cardiff University
Mr Shibendra Nath Datta Urology University Hospital of Wales
Dr Angelo Amoroso Inorganic Chemistry Cardiff University
Dr Alison Paul Physical Chemistry Cardiff University
Dr Simon Pope Inorganic Chemistry Cardiff University
Professor Mark Waters Biomaterials MBi Wales
Dr Wayne Ayre Medical Devices Cardiff Universtiy

Selected publications

Al-Ishaq R, Armstrong J, Gregory M, O'Hara M, Phiri K, Harris LG, Rohde H, Siemssen N, Frommelt L, Mack D, Wilkinson TS. 2015. Effects of polysaccharide intercellular adhesin (PIA) in an ex vivo model of whole blood killing and in prosthetic joint infection (PJI): A role for C5a. International Journal of Medical Microbiology. pii: S1438-4221(15)30004-7. (10.1016/j.ijmm.2015.08.005)