Delivering NBIC’s Research Strategy
Dr Shi-qi An
Shi-qi joined NBIC in October 2018. She gained her PhD in Microbiology from Guangxi University in China and University College Cork in Ireland, as part of the SFI China-Ireland Programme. She has since held several postdoctoral positions (Queens University Belfast and University of Dundee), and has made a number of short-term research visits to institutes around Europe (Diamond Lightsource and Earlham Institute), as well as Asia (Nanyang Technological University).
Her research interests currently lie in the area of bacterial virulence and stress resistance during chronic infection, with a drive towards developing new anti-infective agents for disease control.
Dr Callum Highmore
Callum’s PhD focused on foodborne pathogens in the viable but nonculturable state. During his NBIC Fellowship, he will be applying Raman spectroscopy techniques for the detection and characterisation of biofilm in a range of samples spanning food and healthcare sectors, with the intent of continuing his research into nonculturable bacterial states.
This research will be carried out in collaboration with the Faculties of Engineering and Physical Sciences, and Medicine, and in the first instance will assess the clinical utility of Raman spectroscopy as a diagnostic tool in Cystic Fibrosis.
Dr Joe Parker
Joe has a decade of experience understanding evolutionary and ecological relationships between organisms using DNA sequence data, spanning everything from viruses to whales and oak trees. Recently he became an early adopter of portable nanopore sequencing technology using the USB-connected MinION device, and is an expert in field-based DNA sequencing and analysis.
At NBIC, Joe applies rapid, portable real-time data collection methods and develops cloud-based, big-data analytics to produce actionable insights into biofilm species composition. He is also interested in using this data to pose deeper questions about biofilm evolutionary processes including horizontal gene transfer and antimicrobial resistance.
Dr Ewan Young
Ewan is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Surface Science Research Centre within the University of Liverpool. Ewan’s MRes and PhD projects, within Functional and Comparative Genomics, focused on the signalling pathway termed the Unfolded Protein Response in the filamentous fungi Aspergillus nidulans. His background is in molecular microbiology and he has worked on several fungal spp. After studying, he completed a short Postdoctoral position examining efficacies of dental irrigant’s to disinfect a bacterial biofilms as well as the development of a bovine tooth model.
Ewan’s area of interest is fungal biology and their biofilm forming capacity in general, with a special regard to secretory pathways and the gene regulation/expression involved.
Dr Yuri Diaz-Fernandez
Yuri is the Research Coordinator of the Open Innovation Hub for Antimicrobial Surfaces (OPIHAS) at the University of Liverpool. He has several years of experience in Nanotechnology, Surface Science, Chemistry of Materials, and Colloidal Chemistry. He has gained expertise on the design and synthesis of supramolecular systems and self-assembled nanostructured materials for different applications, including antibacterial surfaces, chemical catalysis, and molecular sensing.
He is also involved in the characterisation of nanomaterials, surfaces, and bio-interfaces using advanced microscopy techniques. He has been actively working in challenging cross-disciplinary research activities at different research institutions across Europe.
Dr Shaun Robertson
Shaun is a Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham. He completed his PhD in Microbiology at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS), investigating physical factors that affect bacterial biofilm formation.
This was followed by a 2-year postdoctoral position, aiding in the continued development of a nanovibrational bioreactor (nanokicking) at UWS and the University of Strathclyde. Shaun’s area of research focuses on the development of polymicrobial biofilm models and understanding the interplay between microbes present in these biofilms. He is also interested in pursuing multidisciplinary projects and is actively engaged in public engagement events.
Dr Manuel Romero
Manuel completed his PhD at the University of Santiago, exploring enzymatic mechanisms to interfere with signalling systems used by pathogenic bacteria to coordinate virulence factor production, biofilm formation and adaptation to environmental changes. At the University of Nottingham, he studied the influence of global post-transcriptional regulatory networks on selection of free-living or biofilm associated lifestyles in the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Manuel’s expertise covers molecular microbiology techniques, communication systems in pathogenic bacteria and imaging of microbial communities, as well as the discovery of potential targets for biofilm eradication and exploring the mechanisms behind new antibiofilm drugs/surfaces discovered after HT approaches.
Dr Fadi Soukarieh
Fadi obtained his degree in Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences from Damascus University, and his PhD in Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Design from the University of Nottingham. He worked on an anticancer drug discovery project targeting CDK9, and on a multinational project (SENBIOTAR) for the discovery of new PqsR antagonist as novel antipseudomonal and antivirulence agents.
He joined NBIC in January 2019 and is currently focusing on the management and detection of biofilm using Medicinal Chemistry tools and approaches. This includes virtual and in-vitro screening of compound libraries, design and synthesis of small molecules and hybrid and prodrugs with enhanced permeability profiles.
Dr Susana Direito
Susana is an Industrial Research Associate in Biological Physics and part of ECFP (Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership) core team within the University of Edinburgh. She focuses on delivering impact from research within the Soft Matter and Biological Physics group. She has expertise in microbiology and molecular biology techniques.
Her scientific interests include biofilm formation, detection, eradication and advancing antimicrobial technologies. She has won awards related to these topics, including an EPSRC Impact Acceleration Award and a NBIC Proof of Concept (POC) award to study biofilm formation in venous catheters, in collaboration with a SME.
Dr Gavin Melaugh
Gavin is a NBIC Fellow in the Physics Department at the University of Edinburgh working with Professor Cait MacPhee and Rosalind Allen. Gavin studied Chemistry at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), moving to the Physics department to do his PhD in molecular modelling and computer simulations of porous liquids.
This work led to the design, synthesis, and characterisation of the first ever liquids of this kind. At Edinburgh, Gavin uses a combination of experiments and computational simulations to investigate aggregation and collective phenomena in biofilm-forming bacteria such as the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the wastewater treatment bacteria Comamomas denitrificans.
Dr Ryan Morris
Ryan holds degrees from Boston University (B.A. Physics) and King’s College London (MSc. Theoretical Physics). He completed his PhD in mechanisms of protein self-assembly at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. Since then, he’s held a postdoctoral position at Edinburgh where he’s studied both molecular components of biofilms, as well as investigating population-level dynamics of bacteria and biofilms.
He has a strong interest in collective behaviours of bacteria and applying microfluidic technologies to better understand microbial life in spatially complex and dynamic environments.
Dr Natalie Bamford
Natalie completed her PhD at the University of Toronto in 2019. Her research focused on fungal biofilm matrix components, and was carried at the Hospital for Sick Children. She used structural biology and biochemistry to investigate the machinery involved in the production and processing of matrix exopolysaccharides.
In autumn 2019, Natalie joined the lab of Professor Nicola Stanley-Wall at the University of Dundee. Her current research uses a multidisciplinary approach, and is co-supervised by Professor Cait MacPhee at the University of Edinburgh. Natalie is investigating the interactions of matrix components at the molecular level, in the model organism Bacillus subtilis. She is interested in teasing out the methods microbes use to induce biofilm structural complexity.