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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences
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Dr Thomas J Secker PhD, BSc (Hons)

Research Fellow in infection prevention

Dr Thomas J Secker's photo

Dr Thomas Secker is a Research fellow in infection prevention within Biological Sciences in the Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences. Dr Secker also closely collaborates and works within the StarTeam, Ultrasonics group within the Institute of Sound and Vibrational Research, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

The prevention of infection is key for the race against antimicrobial resistance. If we can stop infections reaching the host there will be a lower requirement for antimicrobial therapies and therefore, reduced chance for microbes to produce resistance.

Career history

2016-Present: Research Fellow, Environmental Healthcare Unit (EHU), University of Southampton, UK.
2012-2016: Project Technician: Environmental Health. EHU, University of Southampton, UK.
2007-2008: Project Technician. Environmental Healthcare Unit (EHU), University of Southampton, UK.
2004-2005: Biomedical Scientist (Placement Year), Medical Solutions (now called Source BioScience), Nottingham, UK.

Academic qualifications

2008-2012: PhD “Cell based prion infectivity assays”, EHU, University of Southampton, UK.
2002-2006: BSc (Hons) Biomedical sciences, Sheffield Hallam University, UK.

Research interests

Dr Secker is a research fellow who specialises in the detection of protein and microbial contamination, the development, testing and optimisation of novel technologies and devices for infection prevention purposes and production of novel cell culture assays to detect prion infectivity.

Current projects include:

PhD Supervision

Maryam Malakoutikhah
Project: The next generation of starstream
Funding Provider: CASE studentship with EPSRC and Ultrawave

Kit Harling
Project: Does cleaning chronic wounds with an ultrasonically activated stream improve healing

Christian Cox
Project: Development of a novel ultrasonic device for the control and removal of dental biofilms
Funding provider: Industrial sponsorship by GSK

Beverly Chong
Project: Invention to avoid food poisoning: ultrasonic salad cleaning
Funding provider: Industrial EPSRC Case studentship  sponsorship by Vitacress

Freya Malcher
Project: Ultrasonic invention for handwashing sufficient to combat superbugs
Funding provider: Industrial sponsorship by Sloan


Research group

Environmental Biosciences

Affiliate research groups

Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, Southampton Neuroscience Group (SoNG), Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS), Acoustics group, ISVR

Research project(s)

Cold Atmospheric Plasma (CAP) for the decontamination of reusable surgical instruments

To evaluate the potential of Cold Atmospheric Plasma as a tool for the decontamination of reusable surgical instruments and endoscopes, thus significantly reducing the risk of iatrogenic infections with prions and potentially other resilient agents.

Development of endoscope decontamination procedures

This project will assess the cleanliness of existing endoscopes and the efficacy of current decontamination procedures, using a new highly sensitive microscopy imaging method to identify and quantify residual contamination from a range of flexible endoscopes, and new cell assays to assess potential prion infectivity.

StarStream (2016 onwards)

StarSaver - cleaning wounds when water is scarce

Bubble Management in an Ultrasonic System to Clean using a Water Stream

The StarStream device cleans using only room temperature water, ultrasound and air. This CASE award studentship, funded by EPSRC and Ultrawave Ltd., examines method of improving the StarStream by looking at the engineering associated with the water supply components of the device. This entails the design and construction of new bubble diagnostics technology.

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Member of NAMRIP
Officer for ECR Engagement with Low-and Middle-Income Countries-Global-NAMRIP
Member of the SoBS PRDA committee.

Due to the nature of Dr Secker’s work, he has a number of links and collaborations with industrial partners, some cannot be mentioned for confidentiality reasons, however to name a few; Ultrawave, Vitacress, GSK, Pinkham Equine Veterinary Services and the SSD’s at Southampton General Hospital.

Dr Thomas J Secker
Biological Sciences
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Life Sciences Building 85
University of Southampton
Highfield Campus
SO17 1BJ

Room Number NNN: 85/4041/M55

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