University of Birmingham – Partner University

For inquiries, please contact Professor Jan Kreft ( and Sarah Kuehne (

Research Area: Mathematical modelling

  1. Individual-based and differential equation based modelling of bacterial population dynamics and biofilm development to understand interactions between microorganisms: communication, cooperation, competition, predator-prey, plasmid transfer and dynamics, antimicrobial resistance etc. — Jan Kreft, Centre for Computational Biology & Institute of Microbiology and Infection
  2. Development of software platforms for individual-based modelling of biofilms and gut microbiota etc. — Jan Kreft
  3. Differential equation based modelling of microbial population dynamics and statistical inference applied to antibiotic resistance, anti-virulence drugs, quorum sensing, gene regulation, bacterial stress responses, sporulation, biofilms — Sara Jabbari, School of Mathematics & Institute of Microbiology and Infection
  4. Modelling ultrasonic cavitation, ship waves, computational fluid dynamics — Qianxi Wang, School of Mathematics
  5. Computational fluid dynamics (multiphase flow, open-channel flow, turbulent flow) — Bruno Fraga-Bugallo, Department of Civil Engineering

Research Area: Antibiofilm treatments

  1. Use of antibiofilm treatments (both bacteriostatic and bactericidal) including mainly weak organic acids, also model and medicinal honey, and surface-coupled antibacterial peptides. Understanding their mechanisms particularly through use of transposon-directed insertion sequencing (TraDIS – library of transposon mutants to identify genes involved in biofilms), and laboratory based evolution + whole genome sequencing.   Use of robotics for high throughput evolutionary and other studies. — Pete Lund

Research Area: Chemistry

  1. Use of synthetic polymers to understand and manage biofilms. Identifying materials that can inhibit biofilm formation or induce biofilm formation to exploit the potential of biofilms in biotechnology — Francisco Fernandez-Trillo
  2. Nanoparticles: modify nanoparticles for fluorescence imaging of biofilms, coat nanoparticles with targeted agents, study drug release — Zoe Pikramenou

Research Area: Imaging

  1. Applying MRI techniques to visualize biofilm growth, removal, mass transport within and around biofilms — Melanie Britton

Research Area: Oral biofilms

  1. Mono and Multispecies biofilms modelling health and disease state of the oral microbiome; Imaging techniques (confocal and SEM); host-pathogen interaction (mucosa model, neutrophil interactions); bacterial interactions (quorum sensing, various signalling molecules) using biochemical and molecular techniques; culture and genetic manipulation of anaerobic bacteria to perform mechanistic studies. Proteomic analysis; Interactions of bacteria with a large variety of materials, coatings, surfaces, textures, including measurements of biofilm formation, antimicrobial activity; novel treatments such as cavitation to remove biofilms, and more — Sarah Kuehne, Rachel Sammons, Damien Walmsley, Iain Chapple, Josefine Hirschfeld, Nina Vyas, Michael Milward, Mel Grant, Josephine Camilleri

Research Area: Wound decontamination/healing

  1. Particular focus on disrupting wound associated biofilms using different light wavelength (LEDs), photobiomodulation, also use of photosensitizers + light and equally use of light to enhance wound healing — Will Palin, Paul Cooper, Michael Milward, Sarah Kuehne,  Mo Haddis, Rachel Sammons

Research Area: Engineering

  1. E. coli and Pseudomonas biofilm formation, physiology and regulation. Interaction of biofilms with process environments – harmful and beneficial biofilms (including biofilms as biocatalytic platforms). — Tim Overton, Chemical Engineering
  2. Biofilms as a platform for robust biocatalysis.
  3. Flow cytometry, laser scanning and Raman confocal microscopy, AFM

Research Area: Environmental omics

  1. High throughput sequencing technologies to investigate the role of the microbiome in pesticide resistance of the invertebrate Daphnia. — Luisa Orsini, Biosciences
  2. Bioremediation solutions for the treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater

Research Area: High-throughput biofilm profiling

  1. I use high-throughput approaches to profile biofilm formation in arrayed strain libraries against drugs and environmental stresses.
    Manuel Banzhaf, Institute of Microbiology & Infection

Research Area: River biofilms

  1. Experimental investigation of river flow – biofilm interactions — Greg Sambrook Smith & Mark Ledger, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
  2. Tracing flux of biofilm carbon through food webs
  3. Response of biofilms to stress (acidity, pesticides, drought/extreme events)


  • BlueBEAR supercomputer for simulating mathematical models of biofilms (~2000 core compute cluster continuously maintained/upgraded)
  • Environmental Omics Sequencing facility
  • ECOLAB (outdoor recirculating river flumes, 96 small, 24 larger)
  • 300 MHz (7T) magnetic resonance micro-imaging instrument
  • Synthesis and characterisation of peptides (NMR, HPLC, MS), polymers (NMR, MALDI-TOFF, GPC), nanoparticles (DLS, AFM, TEM)
  • Bank of oral bacteria, commensals or associated with diseases. Microbiology facilities (anaerobic cabinet, cell culture suites, CDC biofilm reactor, SEM, confocal, etc). Access to clinical plaque samples and bacterial isolates
  • Anaerobic facility with the ability to grow range of oral anaerobic bacteria associated with oral disease. Cell culture of neutrophils, osteoblasts and epithelial cells. Access via collaborators and industry to oral biofilm models of health and disease. Access to patient biofilm harvesting
  • Oral clinical trials facility (test biofilm inhibitors in vivo and investigate host response), access to disease & healthy patient cohort
  • Host response: in house assays to interrogate neutrophil, macrophage, epithelium, fibroblasts, bone responses following bacterial challenge
  • Optical suite (accurate measurement of photonic parameters including wavelength, irradiance, beam profile and transmission through a range of clinically relevant substrates) and development of a range of bespoke light arrays to allow high throughput screening of bacterial/host light responses and photosensitizer activation
  • Biofilm targeting: development of smart nanomaterials that become activated on command following light exposure allowing pathogen targeting and healthy biofilm development
  • The Birmingham Advanced Light Microscopy (BALM) facility is part of the Imaging Suite at the University of Birmingham and provides cutting edge microscopy resources to members of the University community and beyond.
    Within the BALM facility, LS-Confocal microscopy, widefield and TIRF microscopy are techniques routinely used for live and fixed samples.
  • Birmingham Drug Discovery Facility