Communicable Disease and Infection Control

Images illustrating research in communicable disease and infection control

This theme encompasses research in a diversity of novel anti-microbial strategies to combat infectious disease including optimisation of antimicrobial effectiveness in chronic wound care; antimicrobial resistance in respiratory infections and impact of pneumococcal vaccines; diagnosis and treatment of Acanthamoeba keratitis and contact lens disinfection; and molecular aetiology of food-borne pathogens including Campylobacter and Clostridium, and use of probiotics to reduce infections in the food chain. Researchers are also developing novel ex-vivo systems to model microbial infections. 

Staff list

- Professor Supratik Basu (Professor of Haematology) 
- Professor Matthew Brookes (Professor of Gastroenterology) 
- Dr Georgina Manning (Head of Department, Biology, Chemistry & Forensic Science) 
- Dr Hafid Omar (Senior Lecturer in Cancer Research) 
- Dr Paul Roberts (Senior Lecturer in Clinical Microbiology) 

Examples of Current Projects

PI: Dr Ayesha Rahman

Collaborators: Dr Hazel Gibson

Although vaccines and antibiotics have been at the forefront in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics has led to rise in antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The main objective of this research is to address AMR by studying the clinical effectiveness of antibiotics and vaccines used therapeutically and prophylactically. This will be achieved by conducting observational studies and undertaking systematic reviews and meta-analyses of existing clinical evidence. The ultimate aim is to guide clinicians on the prudent use of antimicrobial agents in order to avoid the spread of AMR.

Efficacy and safety of antibiotics and vaccines has been evaluated by conducting systematic reviews and metanalysis as part of MPharm research projects. A current PhD student Natalia Bielecki is Investigating the iMpact of Pneumococcal vaccines on clinical outcomes and Antimicrobial Resistance in non-vaccine seroTypes (nVT) of Streptococcus pneumoniae (IMPART) by analysing both prospective and retrospective clinical data.

Selected Outputs :

  • Gill, A. S., Morrissey, H., & Rahman, A. (2018). A systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating antibiotic prophylaxis in dental implants and extraction procedures. Medicina (Lithuania), 54(6).       (

PI: Dr Enas Al-Ani

COVID-19 is caused by the novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which can be transmitted through direct contact or surface contamination. One of the primary control measures to reduce the spread of the infection is through surface disinfection. However, the frequency of cleaning and disinfectant application is a major drawback requiring active personal and complex monitoring routines. Consequently, developing antimicrobial materials that offer SARS-CoV-2 viricidal activity is of utmost importance in pandemic preparedness.

The aim of this project to explore the development of novel copper-based alloys that offer significant virucidal activity, including against coronavirus, and are suitable to be 3D printed on demand.

The project is funded by the Lord Paul Early Researcher Fellowship (2021-2022) in collaboration with Dr Wayne Heaselgrave and Dr Arun Arjunan.

PI: Dr Wayne Heaselgrave

Early diagnosis and instigation of treatment is fundamental to successfully treating Acanthamoeba keratitis infections. Delays in diagnosis are associated with a poor prognosis including reduced visual acuity, corneal perforation and the requirement for a corneal transplant. The low sensitivity rates for PCR and culture mean that there is an urgent need to develop a rapid and accurate diagnostic test for this potentially blinding infection.

Previously, we successfully prepared the first monoclonal antibodies able to bind to multiple strains of Acanthamoeba. In this project, we aim to use those three antibodies and the expertise from the Universities of Wolverhampton and Worcester to develop a lateral flow device (LFD), similar to a home pregnancy test, that can be used for the rapid diagnosis of this infection in a biomedical science laboratory. The project team includes Dr Enas Al Ani from the University of Wolverhampton and Dr Steven Coles from the University of Worcester, with funding from the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).

PI: Dr Wayne Heaselgrave

Diabetes mellitus or type 2 diabetes is a disease where the patient’s body produces insufficient amounts insulin or the cells of the body become resistant to insulin, leading to an elevation in blood sugar over a prolonged period of time. According to Diabetes UK, there are > 4 million people in the UK who have type 2 diabetes and the World Health Organisation estimates that there are 422 million people worldwide with the condition. 

The statistics from the National Health Service report that there are over 61,000 patients in England with diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) and approximately 6000 of these patients will require the amputation of a leg, foot or toe each year. In addition to the personal impact of DFU, the cost of treating DFU (primary care, outpatient care, in-patient care for amputation and ulceration and post amputation care) has been estimated to be between £639-662 million per year which is between 0.6-0.7% of the total NHS budget.

In this research, we are investigating the activity and toxicity of existing therapeutic compounds, alone and in combination with nanoparticle delivery, against bacteria and fungi commonly associated with DFU. The project team includes Professor Iza Radecka and PhD student Ogechi Onuoha and is supported by funding from Innovate UK in collaboration with Malvern Cosmeceutics.

PI: Dr Wayne Heaselgrave

There is an urgent need for new treatments for infections including diabetic foot ulcer (DFU), cutaneous Leishmaniasis and other diseases caused by resistant organisms. Although these are a diverse group of diseases caused by different organisms, they share a common treatment modality in topical administration of active compounds. In this research, we are developing nanoparticles for the improved delivery of compounds for bacterial, fungal and protozoan infections.

The project team includes Michael Ansah, Research & Innovation Graduate, and Dr Daniel Keddie and is funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) with part European regional Development Funding (ERDF).