Professor Brendan Gilmore

26 April 2018

QIB Lecture Theatre

Speaker: Professor Brendan Gilmore, School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University of Belfast, will present a seminar entitled: Cold Plasmas for Biofilm and Contamination Control in Health and Agriculture

Brendan Gilmore

Host:     Christian Roghi / Mark Webber


Atmospheric pressure non-thermal, or cold, plasmas have rapidly evolved as a technology for biological applications including microbial decontamination, wound healing and cancer treatment, owing to the in situ generation of a complex and diverse mixture of chemical and bio-active radicals, primarily reactive oxygen (ROS) and nitrogen species (RONS).

The ability to generate plasmas at or near ambient temperatures (tissue-tolerable plasmas) has given rise to the nascent field of plasma medicine and more recently, to emerging interest in the application of this new technology to the Agri-food industry.  Cold plasmas have proven highly effective in the eradication of bacteria and fungi in both planktonic and biofilm modes of growth at low temperatures, making it a promising approach for surface decontamination of both biotic and abiotic surfaces alike. Thus, cold plasma technology may be uniquely positioned to address the particular challenges associated with controlling infectious biofilms and other microbiological risk factors in the healthcare or food processing environment.

In addition, non-thermal plasmas as a putative non-antibiotic approach to controlling infectious microorganisms, holds significant promise as an antibiotic alternative infection control strategy, with demonstrated efficacy against antibiotic resistant microorganisms. Recently, we have demonstrated that cold plasmas can rapidly degrade various bacterial and fungal toxins, bacterial signaling molecules, virulence factors and antibiotic residues. The Institute of Global Food Security (IGFS) and School of Pharmacy at Queen’s University Belfast have recently established an Innovate UK-funded Centre for Plasmas in Agriculture ‘AgriPlas’ to undertake cutting edge research in applying cold plasmas to reduce animal disease, reduce antibiotic use, reduce feed and food contamination and reduce food waste. In this presentation, the opportunities and challenges of using cold plasmas for controlling both microbiological and toxicological risks in both healthcare and the agri-food industry will be discussed.


Prof. Brendan Gilmore holds the Chair of Pharmaceutical Microbiology at Queen’s University Belfast, where he leads the Biofilm Research Group. His research is focused on understanding the processes which govern bacterial biofilm formation and tolerance to antibiotics, and the discovery of novel antibiotics, anti-biofilm agents and disinfectant approaches. His recent work has included the application of cold plasmas for biofilm decontamination, discovery of novel antimicrobials and biocatalytic enzymes from extremely halophilic microorganisms and uncovering novel druggable protease targets in bacterial biofilm formation among the ESKAPE pathogens.

Prof Gilmore has published over 100 papers, is editor of the textbook ‘Hugo & Russell’s Pharmaceutical Microbiology’, a core microbiology text in schools of pharmacy worldwide. He was awarded the 2013 Royal Pharmaceutical Society Science Award for contributions to pharmaceutical microbiology and biofilm control, and was the recipient of the Society for Applied Microbiology’s WH Pierce Prize 2017, awarded to a young (under 40!) scientist who has made a substantial contribution to the science of applied microbiology.

He is currently leading the development and commercialization of cold plasma technology (handheld plasma jet sources) for both clinical and environmental/food safety applications, most recently supported through a >£1M BBSRC-SFI grant (EnvironSafe). He is currently a member of the steering committee tasked with the establishment of a centre for microbiome studies at QUB, which has received early-stage institutional support from Queen’s University Belfast.


All staff from organisations on the Norwich Research Park are welcome to attend.