Dr Rowena Jenkins
Lecturer Microbiology and Infectious Disease
The role of microorganisms in world health is increasingly being recognised as a major cause for concern due to an increase in the antibiotic resistance demonstrated by these organisms; some now display resistance to all available antibiotic treatments.
This interaction between the microbes, the host and the antimicrobial agents used to combat them is of key interest to microbiologists and is the area in which my research is based.
Current areas of interest:
Antimicrobial susceptibility testing,
biofilms, synergy, proteomic/genomic analysis.
I am currently working at the Swansea University Medical School as a lecturer/researcher. I am involved in providing research led teaching in microbiology and molecular biology on both the undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Outside of the lecture room I also give talks to other interested groups as part of events like the National Science and Engineering week, as well as presenting our latest findings about manuka honey to bee keeping groups across the country.
In the laboratory I am involved in researching the potential for novel antimicrobial agents such as manuka honey to inhibit or eradicate bacteria of clinical significance e.g.: MRSA, P. aeruginosa, and A. baumannii.
When I’m not in the laboratory or lecture theatre I can usually be found out and about on a horse in the Black Mountains or down the local rugby club cheering on the team.
This is a particularly challenging time for those people involved in research into antimicrobial agents and their role in combating microbial infection. It has been noted that the antimicrobial resistance threat is a worldwide issue and is now a priority area for researchers. To date the main body of my research has focused on the antimicrobial effects of manuka honey on potentially pathogenic healthcare/wound associated microorganisms. I have studied the cellular morphology, physiology, biofilm prevention/disruption, adhesion/invasion, virulence expression and proteomic/genetic expression profiles of these organisms in response to varying treatments with honey. It is hoped that the data generated by the in vitro models used to examine the features listed above, could give an insight into the mode of action of the novel antimicrobial agents tested and how these treatments could be applied in an appropriate manner to real world situations.
In parallel to those studies I am exploring the capacity of manuka honey to potentiate antibiotics already in use, especially those which alone, now have reduced efficacy. We are particularly interested in the way this work could be implicated in the progression of infection and have translational potential.
I am interested in partnerships with the commercial sector looking at ways of applying the in vitro results into a clinical setting.