Dr Sandra Wilks joined the microbiology group in 2000 as a research fellow. Since then she has worked on a number of research projects involving the detection of bacteria in complex environments and, in particular, biofilms.
Since being awarded an IfLS Knowledge Mobilisation Senior Research Fellowship in Healthcare Technologies in 2013, she has been working at the interface of Biological Sciences and Health Sciences. Her work is centred around applied biofilm research and is highly interdisciplinary.
- Applied biofilm research
- Medical devices
- Infection prevention
- Microbial communities
Research is currently being undertaken in these main areas:
- Understanding biofilm formation and control in and on medical devices, including urinary catheters and nasogastric feeding tubes.
- The impact of biofilms on infection prevention and the use of surface modifications and biocidal agents to decrease risk.
- The safe re-use of intermittent catheters and link to sustainability.
- Understanding complex microbial communities and how this translates to understanding risk.
- Understanding of microbial communities and risk in public transport and spaces.
Current PhD Students
Dr Sandra Wilks is Director of Programmes Health (PGT and CPD course) in the School of Health Sciences.
She also coordinates the microbiology modules, Environmental Microbiology and Medical Microbiology, in the School of Biological Sciences.
External roles and responsibilities
Dr Sandra Wilks has over 20 years experience in the field of applied biofilm research, having worked on a diverse range of projects from food protection, drinking water safety to medical device use and design. She has particular interests in understanding the complexicity of microbial communities and how to detect low levels of pathogens. Her work is highly interdisciplinary and she works wth colleagues across many faculties and schools, as well as having many industrial collaborators.
She has an interest in how we can communicate, and understand better, microbial risk and uses this in both her research and teaching.
- The battle against catheter-associated biofilms (2014)
- Effectiveness of the 'Milton Method' for reprocessing intermittent catheters: results from user testing (2016)
- Deciphering the crystal maze: Proteus biofilm contamination of urinary catheters (2015)
- The use of micro-computed tomography and advanced imaging techniques to study crystalline biofilm blockages in urinary catheters (2017)
- Improved methods show survival of E. coli O157:H7 in potable water biofilms following treatment with high chlorine concentrations (2010)
- The rapid detection of legionellae in biofilms on mains drinking water pipes (2005)
- New approaches in the detection of biofilms on catheters (2012)
- Dean's Award for Career Achievement (2019)