Professor Wilcox’s research group is based in the Old Medical School, part of the Leeds General Infirmary site, which is adjacent to the main University of Leeds campus. Medical Microbiology research has increased in recent years, especially given the focus on reducing healthcare associated infections, such as Clostridium difficile infection. Professor Wilcox’s research group is focussed on improved understanding of healthcare associated infections to determine interventions to prevent or treat such cases.
Current infection research topics include the following clinical (National Insitiute for Health Research) projects: assessing the effectiveness of rapid identification of pathogens causing blood stream infections on patient outcome; genome analysis as a tool to map transmission routes in patients with C. difficile infection (part of the Modernising Medical Microbiology project http://www.modmedmicro.ac.uk/); determination of the optimal test algorithm to diagnose C. difficile infection; assessment of the efficacy of a novel molecular test to identify a range of pathogens capable of causing gastrointestinal infection; and some soon to begin, including Europe-wide projects on the tracking of C. difficile infection. Recent projects include a comparison of self-taken vulvo-vaginal swabs for nucleic acid detection versus clinician-taken urethral and endocervical swab cultures for the diagnosis of gonorrhoea, and 12 clinical trials of new anti-infective drugs.
We developed a gut model of C. difficile infection that closely simulates human disease. The gut model has been used to understand disease pathogeneis and C. difficile virulence, and to determine which antibiotics are associated with increased risk of C. difficile infection, and which agents can be used to treat this important healthcare associated infection. We have to date 13 publications of studies using our gut model, with other manuscripts in preparation.
Bauer MP, Hensgens MPM, Miller M, Gerding DN, Wilcox MH, Dale A, Fawley WN, Kuijper EJ, Gorbach SL (2012) Renal failure, fever, and leukocytosis are predictors of a complicated course of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) if measured on day of diagnosis. Clin Infect Dis, in press
Best EL, Freeman JA, Wilcox MH (2012) Models for the study of Clostridium difficile infection. Gut Microbes, in press
Best EL, Sandoe JA, Wilcox MH (2012) Potential for aerosolization of Clostridium difficile after flushing toilets: the role of toilet lids in reducing environmental contamination risk. J Hosp Infect 80, 1-5