The Diggle Lab

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Sociomicrobiology, quorum sensing, biofilms, antimicrobial resistance, ancientbiotics



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 chronic lung infections.


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

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Most recent papers


Kragh, K. N., Hutchison, J. B., Melaugh, G., Rodesney, C., Roberts, A. E. L., Irie, Y., Jensen, P., Diggle, S. P., Allen, R. J., Gordon, V. & Bjarnsholt, T. (2016) Role of multicellular aggregates in biofilm formation. mBio. 7:  e00237-16. [Commentary].


Melaugh, G., Hutchison, J., Kragh, K. N., Irie, Y., Roberts, A. E. L., Bjarnsholt, T., Diggle, S. P., Gordon, V. D., Allen, R. J. (2016) Shaping the growth behaviour of biofilms initiated from bacterial aggregates. PLOS ONE. 11: e0149683.


Darch, S. E., McNally, A., Corander, J. & Diggle, S. P. (2016) Response to ‘Recombination is a minor source of genomic diversity in Pseudomonas aeruginosa chronic cystic fibrosis infections by Williams et al (2015)'. Microbial Genomics. 2: Issue 3.


Pollitt, E. J. G., Crusz, S. A. & Diggle, S. P. (2015) Staphylococcus aureus forms spreading dendrites that have characteristics of active motility. Scientific Reports. 5: 17698.


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.


All publications

Latest news: We show how free floating biofilm aggregates can have a profound local effect on biofilm development when attaching to a surface. Our findings suggest that current models of biofilm formation should be reconsidered to incorporate the role of aggregates in biofilm initiation. Link.

Nottingham Slide1

We will be moving to the School of Biology at Georgia Tech in Atlanta in March 2017