Steve Diggle Lab


It is being increasingly realised that bacteria communicate and cooperate to perform a wide range of multicellular behaviours such as dispersal, foraging, biofilm formation, chemical warfare and quorum sensing. Such behaviours are of interest to molecular microbiologists, evolutionary biologists and ecologists which has led to a large research interest in the field of 'sociomicrobiology'.


Our group, based at the University of Nottingham, is interested in explaining cooperation, conflict and communication in microbes, and the implications for the evolution of virulence, biofilms, disease and antibiotic resistance. We are particularly interested in chronic infections such as those found in non-healing wounds and the cystic fibrosis lung.


We are also interested whether we can identify new antimicrobial remedies from old texts @ancientbiotics

RS_350_logo_A4_BLACK logo MRC logo nerclogo1000 HFSP Wellcome

Sociomicrobiology, quorum sensing, biofilms, antimicrobial resistance, ancientbiotics

Recent lab papers


Roberts, A. E. L., Kragh, K. N., Bjarnsholt, T. & Diggle, S. P. (2015) The limitations of in vitro experimentation in understanding biofilms and chronic infection. Journal of Molecular Biology. 427: 3646-3661 .


Ropat, R., Pollitt, E. J. G., Harrison, F., Naghra, H., Hong, K., Chan, K., Griffin, A. S., Williams, P., Brown, S. P., West, S. A. & Diggle, S. P. (2015) Conflict of interest and signal interference lead to the breakdown of honest signalling. Evolution. 69: 2371-2383.


Harrison, F., Roberts, A. E. L., Gabrilska, R., Rumbaugh, K. P., Lee, C. & Diggle, S. P. (2015)  A 1000 year old antimicrobial remedy with anti-Staphylococcal activity. mBio. 6:e01129-15.


Darch, S. E., McNally, A., Harrison, F., Corander, J., Barr, H. L., Paszkiewicz, K., Holden, S., Fogarty, A., Crusz, S. A. & Diggle, S. P. (2015) Recombination is a key driver of genomic and phenotypic diversity in a Pseudomonas aeruginosa population during cystic fibrosis infection. Scientific Reports. 5: 7649.


Harrison, F., Muruli, A., Higgins, S. & Diggle, S. P. (2014) Development of an ex vivo porcine lung model for studying growth, virulence and signalling of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Infection & Immunity. 82: 3312-3323.



All publications

Do our in vitro models of biofilm formation represent the biofilms that are found during in vivo infections? How can we more realistically model infections? We discuss these issues in an opinion article which can be found here.

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