PROFESSOR PAUL WILLIAMS
Paul Williams is Professor of Molecular Microbiology at the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences & School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham. His research interests focus on the ways in which bacteria control their virulence through cell-cell communication and the discovery of new antibacterial agents and bacterial biofilm resistant polymers for preventing medical device associated infections. He has published over 300 research articles and patents, is currently a member of the Medical Research Council Infection & Immunology board and has served on the scientific advisory board of the European Union Joint Programming Initiative in Antimicrobial Resistance. He is a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator and a member of the European Academy of Microbiology.
PROFESSOR MORGAN ALEXANDER
Morgan Alexander is Professor of Biomedical Surfaces, the Director of the EPSRC Programme Grant in Next Generation Biomaterials Discovery and a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator. He received his BSc in Materials (1988) and his PhD from the same department at The University of Sheffield in 1992. His work involves developing materials for application in human healthcare and characterising relationships between surface structure and biological properties. Understanding these relationships is critical to the development of next generation biomaterials and it is the theme running through his group's work across a variety of areas spanning control of bacterial adhesion, to engineering cell response for application in medical devices and cell manufacture.
ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE RESEARCH:
Williams and Alexander currently hold a joint Senior Investigator Award to investigate why bacterial slime cities (biofilms) form on some materials but not others. Polymers discovered via a Wellcome Trust Translation Award are about to enter the clinic to help prevent catheter associated urinary tract infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria. The development of these polymers to coat medical devices and future materials emerging from the new scientific insights obtained provide examples of biomaterials development from discovery through translation to clinical use and mechanistic elucidation.
The joint Senior Investigator project is a multi-disciplinary programme using bacterial genetics and genomics alongside imaging mass spectrometry and advanced 3D microscopy to track individual bacterial cells as they explore surfaces and make decisions about whether to stick and develop into mature antibiotic resistant biofilms.
THE RESEARCH GROUP
Paul and Morgan are working on this research project with with a group of 13 postdoctoral researchers and 10 PHD students. All 25 scientists will be engaged in facilitating the public engagement workshops on the Superbug Bus. This will be the largest public engagement project this group has been involved into date, and will benefit them through improved outreach communication skills, first hand reports of AMR in the community and an understanding of the worth of their work to the public. It will inform and benefit current and future research by gaining input from non-experts to identify everyday scenarios for which biofilm resistant surfaces could be applied and developed.