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

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Sociomicrobiology, quorum sensing, biofilms, antimicrobial resistance, ancientbiotics

Recent selected lab papers


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.


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.


All publications

Staphylococcus aureus has historically been regarded as a non-motile organism, but we have found that it does show signs of being actively motile under certain conditions. We discuss our findings here.