- 2006-2010 PhD Student in Microbiology
- 2002-2006 BSc (Hons) Biology with Industrial Experinece
Bionanotechnology is an intersection between biology and nanotechnology, a field in which novel applications for very small materials are being realised at an alarming rate. Nanoparticles have 3 dimensions that can be measured in nanometers, their small size conferring upon them different properties from individual atoms or the bulk material. The interactions between these unique materials and microorganisms are often toxic, thus have been exploited for antimicrobial applications. However, there is a considerable paucity of data for the underlying molecular mechanisms.
My research involves determining the interactions that occur between nanoparticles and bacteria with the objective of identifying these toxicological mechanisms and novel nanoparticle effects. This could lead to new anti-bacterial strategies, and help to limit any negative impact of nanoparticle production on microbial ecology. The small size of nanoparticles means that they can only be viewed directly using electron microscopes, generating a monochromatic cross-sectional image of the specimen. For example, the image below shows a section through an Escherichia coli bacterium that has been grown with gold spheres that are approximately 15 nm in diameter. The unique interaction between nano-sized metal particles and bacterial cells can yield some very interesting effects.