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The University of Southampton
Structural Biology Part of Biological Sciences

Bacterial biofilms

A research focus at Southampton are bacterial biofilms. Biofilms are structured communities of bacteria that represent the major form of bacterial organization. Importantly, biofilms show tolerance against antibiotics, and evade the host immune response.

Biofilms are therefore of clinical significance in chronic disease or in the application of catheters or implants. We carry out structural investigations on signal transduction pathways that involve cyclic nucleotides, as it is known that these nucleotides regulate the switch from the bacterial biofilm state to the motile, swarming form of bacteria. We study enzymes named cyclases that produce these cyclic nucleotides, and phosphodiesterases that can hydrolyse and thus remove cyclic nucleotides.

Understanding these enzymes may allow us to provoke detachment for the disintegration of biofilms (dispersal) and allow more effectivre treatment of chronic infection.

The Institute for Life Sciences has a focus on biofilms and microbial communities.

PhD: Curtis Phippen
Supervisors: Dr Ivo Tews , Dr Jeremy Webb , Prof Bill Keevil .
PhD research: Structural Insights into c-di-GMP regulatory domains.
Funding: BBSRC
Primary research group: Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

PhD: Andrew Hutchin
Supervisor: Dr Ivo Tews , Dr Jeremy Webb , Dr Martin Walsh
PhD research: Delineating the role of nitric oxide in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm dispersion
Funding: University of Southampton and Diamond Light Source
Primary research group: Molecular and Cellular Biosciences

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