Eastman Dental Institute


Smart Surfaces Exhibit and the Royal Society Summer Exhibition

30 June 2017

Royal Society Summer Exhibition

By Dr Elaine Allen, Senior Lecturer and PhD Supervisor

Frequently-touched surfaces in healthcare environments are often contaminated with disease-causing micro-organisms and thus have an important role in transmitting infection between patients. Many of these microbes are resistant to many of the currently available antibiotics and we urgently need to find new ways of reducing the spread of infection.

For a number of years, a team at UCL, comprising Prof Ivan Parkin and Professor Claire Carmalt  (UCL Chemistry), Prof Sandy MacRobert (UCL Surgery and intervention Science), Prof Mike Wilson, Dr Sean Nair and Dr Elaine Allan (all UCL Eastman Dental Institute) have been designing and testing new ‘smart’ surfaces that can either prevent bacteria from sticking or kill bacteria on contact, and some materials exhibit both activities.

We have demonstrated exceptional activity in the laboratory against bacterial species often associated with hospital-acquired infections including multidrug resistant strains and the next phase of the work is to determine how well the materials perform within an actual clinical environment.

We will be demonstrating our work at the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition 2017, from Tuesday 4 July – to Sunday 9 July. The Exhibition is an annual display of cutting-edge science and technology -  free, week-long exhibits, talks and activities. Join us and:

  • see if you can identify bacteria under our microscope;
  • learn about our light-activated antimicrobial prototype materials like catheters and keyboards;
  • play our game and experience super-hydrophobic (water repellent) materials!

Read more

UCL Eastman Emeritus Professor of Microbiology, Michael Wilson, recently received a lifetime achievement award for his work on Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) - a key tool in the development of smart surfaces.