Bacterial surface sensing – to stick or not to stick?


  • Prof Paul Williams

    University of Nottingham

  • Prof Morgan Alexander

    University of Nottingham

Project summary

Reducing the risk of infection associated with in-dwelling medical devices has huge public health significance. Professors Williams and Alexander propose to build on their discovery of bacteria resistant polymers (BRPs) and their use in in-dwelling medical devices. The mechanism by which these BRPs resist attachment is, however, not understood. The key mysteries are how bacteria respond dynamically to polymer surfaces, and what intra- and intercellular signalling mechanisms bacteria employ to sense and respond to these surfaces. Professors Williams and Alexander propose an interdisciplinary approach, combining materials science and molecular microbiology, in conjunction with high-resolution state-of-the-art imaging, exploiting the extensive material chemistry and attachment phenotypes. A closer understanding of the mechanisms used by bacteria to interact with polymer surfaces could inform the rational design of improved BRPs in the future and achieve a transformative change in preventing device-centred infections.