Microbiology and Infection


The group carries out research into pathogens of medical interest, including those implicated in wounds with delayed healing. We have a particular focus on underlying molecular mechanisms of infection and virulence, and topical antimicrobial agents.


Rose Cooper, PhD, Professor of Microbiology
Sarah Maddocks, PhD, Lecturer in Microbiology
Rowena Jenkins, PhD, Lecturer in Microbiology
Delia Ripley, MSc, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science (and part time PhD student)
Anna Dorel, PhD, Lecturer in Biomedical Science
Ben Johns, BSc, PhD student
Hajer Taleb, MSc, PhD student
Chris Phillips PhD student funded by KESS in MicroPharm
Paul Jones, MSc, Technical support
Sam Hooper, PhD, Technical support

History and Highlights

•  Wound microbiology
•  Elucidation of the mode of action of manuka honey in inhibiting bacteria capable of causing wound infection (e.g. MRSA)
•  Investigating novel anti biofilm strategies, including novel delivery methods and novel antimicrobial agents.
•  Explored the use of synergistic combinations as a means to extend the longevity of currently available antimicrobial agent.
•  Elucidated anti adhesive and invasive properties of manuka honey using keratinocyte infection model.
•  Demonstrated the ability of manuka honey to potentiate conventional antibiotics and suppress antibiotic resistance in MRSA.

Research Themes and On-going Projects     

KESS in MicroPharm

This project is a collaborative venture between Cardiff Metropolitan University and MicroPharm Ltd, a small SME located in West Wales. It aims to improve the treatment of patients with the most common hospital acquired infections in the developed world which is caused by the "superbug" C. difficile by developing a novel antiserum for severely ill patients. C. difficile infection (CDI) most commonly affects the elderly causing profuse diarrhoea with consequent loss of dignity; it recurs in more than 25% of patients and severe cases have a high mortality. Currently there are about 20,000 cases of CDI diagnosed annually in the UK with each case costing approximately £7,000. Worldwide, costs attributed to CDI exceed $10 billion. Thus cases far outnumber and are much more deadly than MRSA.

Antimicrobial potential of potassium permanganate in antibiotic resistant infection in chronic ulcers

Ciprofloxacin resistant P. aeruginosa are a barrier to the successful healing of chronic.  Funding for this investigation was secured in 2014 from SATRE in collaboration between Prof Rose Cooper, Drs Rowena Jenkins and Sarah Maddocks and Cardiff University to investigate the activity of KMnO4 on planktonic and biofilm forms of P. aeruginosa.

Synergistic Combinations

As the problem of infections caused by microorganisms that are no longer sensitive to treatment increases there has been a drive for novel antimicrobial agents to be found but also a move to re-examine older therapies for ones that could be reutilised.  Recent research conducted at Cardiff Metropolitan University has shown that by combining honey with conventional antibiotics you can improve their activity in vitro.  In the case of MRSA and oxacillin the joint treatment knocks out the gene responsible for methicillin resistance making the bacteria sensitive to treatment with this antibiotic again. Further work in this area is being conducted to determine the efficacy of honey in potentiating antibiotics against more species of bacteria as well as and multi species and biofilm models of infection to determine if it has potential for clinical practice.

Associated publications:

Jenkins RE, Cooper RA. (2012) Improving antibiotic activity against wound pathogens with manuka honey in In Vitro. PLOS one,  7 (9) 1-9 e45600.

Jenkins RE, Cooper RA. (2012) Synergy between oxacillin and manuka honey sensitizes methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to oxacillin. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 67 (6) 1405 – 1407

Novel antimicrobials for use against wound and MDR pathogens

This information is currently being updated