Research Theme within School of Biosciences: Organisms and Environment
Lab website address: www.biosciences-labs.bham.ac.uk/callowj/ent/
- Algal settlement and adhesion including novel approaches to biofouling
- Nanotechnology in the context of biological adhesion (collaborative interdisciplinary approaches with chemists and materials engineers).
Biofilms and bioadhesion
Biofouling of marine structures, especially by algae. The adhesion of algal spores, young plants and diatoms to surfaces and hydrodynamic evaluation of strength of attachment to novel antifouling and foul-release coatings. High throughput screening of potential antifouling and anti-adhesion compounds and novel surfaces. Much of our research is interdisciplinary and involves collaborations with European scientists in EC-funded projects and in the Office of Naval Research (USA) biofouling programme.
Research focuses on three types of marine algae that cause biofouling problems on the hulls of ships; the green seaweed Ulva, the brown seaweed Ectocarpus, and diatoms (unicellular algae).
We use these as model organisms to investigate bioadhesion processes in relation to biofouling. Work involves interdisciplinary collaborations with surface scientists, physicists, nanotechnologists and polymer scientists in the US and Europe. To study surface selection cues involved in the recruitment of our test organisms we use well-characterised surfaces that provide different physico-chemical properties e.g. wettability, charge. We are particularly interested in nano- and microtopographic modifications of surfaces. Adhesion strength of attached cells is measured hydrodynamically using calibrated flow cells and water jets. The research is generating novel insights into how the settling stages of the test organisms organisms detect and respond to surface cues and this information is then used in knowledge-driven approaches to the development of practical antifouling coatings.