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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

National recognition for Institute for Life Sciences PhD student

Published: 11 August 2016
Chris Winnard

An Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS) PhD student has received national recognition for his research exploring the development of biofilms in neonatal nasogastric tubes.

Chris Winnard was awarded the prize for best research poster at the National Nurses Nutrition Group (NNNG) annual conference. The NNNG aims to promote education in nutrition and related subjects for members of the nursing profession, for the public benefit, and especially for the benefit of patients in the hospital and community.

Chris presented the first stage of his PhD study in a poster entitled Biofilm formation on neonatal nasogastric tubes to national experts in nasogastric tube management.

During his research he has worked with clinicians, healthcare experts and microbiologists to understand and quantify biofilm formation on neonatal gastric tubes and provide direct clinical benefits to patients.

Previous research has demonstrated that tube contamination can lead to decreased weight-gain in infants and Chris’s research aims to build on this work. His initial work has shown that biofilm structure and development on the neonatal nasogastric tubes is altered depending on the material the tubes are made from and the feeds the infants are receiving. This information could be used in future biofilm prevention strategies.

Chris said: “I was extremely proud to receive the award. It was very helpful to my project to meet and discuss my work with clinicians who regularly encounter the sorts of nasogastric tube complications that we are trying to understand from a microbiological perspective. It also demonstrates that experts in the field believe my research is important and worthwhile.

“The IfLS, Biological Sciences and Health Sciences have provided guidance and training throughout my programme and have helped support my research.”

Chris’ PhD in Biological Sciences is funded by the IfLS, Biological Sciences and Health Sciences and he is supervised by four academics – Dr Sandra Wilks and Professor Bill Keevil, from Biological Sciences; and Dr Sue Green and Professor Mandy Fader, from Health Sciences. He previously completed a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at Southampton.

Sue said: “The award demonstrates the importance of disseminating research findings to healthcare practitioners at an early stage, enabling expert clinicians to consider the implications of the findings and shape future research.”

Bill added: “Chris is a young postgraduate student who has made an excellent start to his research career. He has already developed important links with clinicians in Southampton to investigate the serious threat of biofilms in feeding tubes impacting on young babies’ health. It is a great pleasure to congratulate him on his well-merited award.”


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