Infectious Disease Research Group

The Infectious Disease Research Group (IDRG) encompasses infectious disease as a public health issue, assessing the epidemiology and prevalence of infectious disease through molecular diagnostics and analysis.

With a focus on infection prevention and control in patients, the community and the environment, through the assessment of novel antimicrobials, disinfection and sterilisation. The overall aim of the group is to understand and prevent the spread of infectious disease.

The main ethos of the IDRG is to partake in collaborative research across different disciplines and with industry and the healthcare arena, with the aim of having an important impact on society.

The research carried out within the group encompasses a number of areas.

Antimicrobial Research 

There are several group members who are interested in the development of novel antimicrobials with a particular interest in biofilms including the use of natural products, an antimicrobial catalyst (in collaboration with Centre for Engineering Science and Advanced System and industrial partners), nano metals and microencapsulated delivery systems for textiles with potential uses in the sports, healthcare and drug development arenas.  

The IDRG currently holds 2 patents in this area of research and development. The activity and mode of action of disinfectant and sterilants and investigations of the possible link between biocide use and antibiotic resistance is also being assessed. 


Molecular Microbiology

Understanding the molecular basis of the antibiotic resistant microbial pathogens: involving the characterisation of virulence genes at the molecular level, how they acquire resistance genes (pathogen’s horizontal gene transfer) and analysis of the mechanism by which these pathogenic microbes confer antimicrobial resistance is also being researched, this includes developing novel molecular methods; PCR based diagnostic methods for diagnosing the antibiotic resistant microbial pathogens at the early stage of their infectious diseases.

Research also focuses on understanding transcriptional regulation in important bacterial pathogens, specifically how they sense and respond to environmental stress.


Infection control

The group has a number of interests within the area of infection control including; Healthcare Laundry: The assessment of both domestically and industrially laundered healthcare textiles in the context of infection control, including the evaluation of current regulations, processes and EU energy labelling (collaborations with TEAM and industrial partners).

Travel: The efficacy of travel hand rubs, investigating the antiviral activity of commercially available travel hand rubs in order to develop more effective formulations.  


The assessment of antibiotic resistance bacteria in companion animals.  


The group is currently investigating different emerging human parasites such as microsporidia (fungi) and protozoa (e.g. free-living amoebas, Cryptosporidium and Cyclospora) in urban ecosystems including the possible role of wild and pet animals in the spread of these parasites and their public health implications.

This impact on humans is also studied by collaboration with different international academics. This investigation will aid to the development of applicable intervention mechanisms to protect humans as well as to design future protocols of prevention. The team is also developing an e-Parasitology platform to aid students and academics in their learning and teaching performances.


Facilities and Funding

The IDRG have five dedicated microbiology research labs including a molecular microbiology suite , with extensive equipment ranging from, spiral platers, anaerobic and class II cabinets, PCR and Real Time PCR.  In addition the group has access to advanced analytical techniques including high resolution NMR spectroscopy, LC-MS/MS, ICP-MS, MALDI-TOF, FTIR and SEM.

The group receives funding from a number of sources including learned Societies, UK Industry, the Healthcare arena, National and International Government Bodies and European funding.

Contact us

Dr Katie Laird is Head of the Infectious Disease Research Group, for any enquiries please email her direct on:, or

twitter-icon Twitter: @IRDG_DMU