Dr Sammons graduated from the University of Birmingham in 1976 with a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences. She gained her PhD in 1980 on the biochemistry and genetics of spore germination of Bacillus subtilis 168. She was then awarded a Royal Society European Exchange Fellowship to work at the Centre de Génétique Moléculaire, CNRS, Gif-sǔr-Yvette, France on chromosomal rearrangements in Bacillus subtilis trpE26. She returned to Birmingham in 1982 to resume work on the molecular biology of bacterial spore germination but in 1988 she moved to the Department of Anatomy, to take up a Research Fellowship as a cell biologist. In 1991 she was awarded a Senior Research Fellowship by the charity “Action Research” to work on the molecular biology of osteoblast-hydroxyapatite interactions and the influence of calcium phosphate phase variability in plasma sprayed coatings on bone cell behaviour. She moved to the School of Dentistry and was made a lecturer in biomaterials in 1997, senior lecturer in 2005 and has been Course Leader of the BMedSc(Biomedical Materials Science) degree programme since 2001.
Infections associated with implanted medical devices cause considerable problems because they can rarely be successfully treated with antibiotics and in most cases the implant has to be removed. Dr Sammons research focuses on ways to improve cellular attachment and differentiation on titanium surfaces and inhibit bacterial attachment and proliferation. This may include ion implantation or application of coatings (especially hydroxyapatite) which optimise the tissue response and reduce bacterial interactions. Sammons has published several papers on biofilms and biomineralisation, having worked for several years on the manufacture of hydroxyapatite by a species of Serratia bacteria. She maintains collaborative links with researchers and companies in Japan, initiated by a BBSRC Japan Partnering award, and in Europe via membership of a Eureka! Consortium, as well as collaborative links with Italian and Swedish researchers, working on cell-dental implant interactions and degradation of bone-substitute materials, using the scanning electron microscope as an investigative tool. She was recently awarded a grant from the Furlong Charitable Foundation to carry out a collaborative programme of research on the development of reinforced artificial ligaments.
1. Shirota, T., Shintani, S., Yoshizawa, Y., Kuboki, Y., Sammons, R. and Yagami, K. Optimal Diameter of Honeycomb Tunnel Structure induces Bone Regeneration and Metabolism by Promoting Angiogenesis for an Implant Circumference Bone Defect. Journal of Hard Tissue Biology 22 (2013) 409-417.
2. Sammons, R., Wang, A., Mikheenko, I., Handley-Sidhu, S., and Macaskie, L., Bacterially Derived Nanomaterials and Enzyme-Driven Lipid-Associated Metallic Particle Catalyst Formation. In: A. Iglič, and C.V. Kulkarni, (Eds.), Advances in Planar Lipid Bilayers and Liposomes, Academic Press, Burlington, 2013, pp. 237-261.
3. Wang, A., Mei, J., Tse, Y.Y., Jones, I.P., and Sammons, R.L. Hydroxyapatite synthesis on solid surfaces using a biological approach, 17th International School on Condensed Matter Physics, Journal of Physics Conference Series 398 (2012) 012005.
4. Fu, X., Sammons, R.L., Bertoti, I., Jenkins, M.J. and Dong, H. Active screen plasma surface modification of polycaprolactone to improve cell attachment. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B-Applied Biomaterials 100B (2012) 314-320.
5. Dong, Y., Li, X., Tian, L., Bell, T., Sammons, RL., Dong, H. (2011) Towards long-lasting antibacterial stainless steel surfaces by combining double low plasma silvering with active screen plasma nitriding, Acta Biomaterialia, 7:447-457.
6. Monksfield, P., Chapple, I.L.C., Matthews, J.B., Grant, M.M., Addison, O., Reid, A.P., Proops, D.W. and Sammons, R.L. Biofilm formation on bone-anchored hearing aids. Journal of Laryngology and Otology 125 (2011) 1125-1130.
7. Buhagiar, J., Bell, T., Sammons, R. and Dong, H. Evaluation of the biocompatibility of S-phase layers on medical grade austenitic stainless steels. Journal of Materials Science-Materials in Medicine 22 (2011) 1269-1278.
8. Sammons, RL. (2011) Modifying biomaterial surfaces to optimise interactions with bone In Williams R (ed) Surface modification of biomaterials; Methods, analysis and applications. Woodhead Publishing, Oxford. pp 365-391.