UCL Division of Infection & Immunity

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UCL Biofilm Centre

Organisers: Dr Bambos Charalambous

The UCL Biofilm Centre is a virtual centre aiming to bring together a cadre of experts from different disciplines and from industry that will develop research strategies and co-ordinate research, development, training, educational and commercialisation activities.

Biofilm-associated infectious disease has been a neglected area of clinical research in the UK. Increasing evidence suggests that many life-threatening infections arise through the development of biofilms, either directly in the human host or indirectly via surgical prostheses or catheters.

Clinical themes: It has been known for many years that microbial biofilms are responsible for a wide range of infections but recent research has established that their involvement in disease processes is far wider than originally thought.  Main categories of biofilm-associated disease (BAD) are listed below:

  • Medical device-associated infections – due to advances in medical technology and an ageing population, these are an increasing problem and a considerable cost to the NHS.
  • Oral diseases – the most prevalent infectious diseases of humans are caries, gingivitis and periodontitis and these are all caused by biofilms on the tooth surface.
  • Genito-urinary infections – vaginitis has long been recognised as being due to biofilms on the vaginal mucosa but recently it has been shown that recurrent urinary tract infections are caused by biofilms within the bladder mucosa.
  • Respiratory infections – the role of biofilms in lung infections in cystic fibrosis and ventilation –associated pneumonia is well known, but there is increasing evidence that upper respiratory tract infections such as otitis media are also caused by biofilms

Disciplines involved: Research into the aetiology, prevention and treatment of BAD requires the involvement of scientists and clinicians from a range of disciplines. This need for an inter-disciplinary approach has held back advances in the field and highlights the need for the establishment of a Biofilm Centre to encourage cross-discipline research. The disciplines involved include: Microbiology, medicine, biomaterials science, gene technology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, pharmacology.

Objectives: the main objectives of the Centre will be to:

(i) make UCL-BC the pre-eminent centre for clinically-relevant biofilm research in the UK and Europe;

(ii) provide a forum for scientists and clinicians with an interest in BAD;

(iii) encourage research into the microbial aetiology of BAD, the mechanisms underlying BAD, the development of preventive and therapeutic strategies;

(iv) co-ordinate research grant applications;

(v) develop and run undergraduate and post-graduate courses in BAD; and to

(vi) provide a forum for discussion and cooperation between academics and appropriate commercial organisations to enable rapid commercialisation of research findings

Some of our contributing scientists and clinicians are listed here:
Dr Bambos Charalambous, BSc(hons), PhD (Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology);
Professor Chris Kibbler, Consultant Microbiologist (Royal Free, Mycology); 
Dr Sean Nair, Senior lecturer (EDI, biofilm);
Dr Ian Needleman, BDS MSc PhD MRDRCS(Eng) FDSRCS(Eng) FHEA (Professor of Restorative Dentistry and Evidence-Based Healthcare Honorary Consultant and Specialist in Periodontology, Director International Centre for Evidence-Based Oral Health Director, International Centre for Evidence-Based Oral Health (ICEOH), EDI, oral diseases);
Professor James Malone-Lee (Professor of Medicine, MD FRCP, Director of Research and Development, Centre for Clinical Science, Technology and Geriatrics, Whittington Campus);
Professor Gordon W Blunn (UCL Institute of Orthopaedics & Musculoskeletal Science orthopaedics);
Dr Dave Spratt (Eastman Dental Institute);
Professor Ivan Parkin (UCL, Inorganic and Solid State Chemistry);
Professor Jonathan C Knowles ((Eastman Dental Institute); Professor of Biomaterials Science and Head of the Division of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering);
Dr Anne Young, (Eastman Dental Institute), Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering);
Dr Kishor Gulabivala (Eastman Dental Institute); and
Dr Jacob Sweiry (UCL and Partners HSRD)

For the Eastman Dental Institute's research website, click here; to access some pictures of Biofilms, click here to see images of Sucrose Rendering and the Many Faces of Plaque.

[Note: You can find out more on the People pages on the School of Life and Medical Sciences website.  You can find out further information about research publications on the UCL Publications Database.]

Page last modified on 11 sep 12 14:56