School of Life Sciences

Image of Miguel Camara

Miguel Camara

Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Co-Director of the National Biofilm Innovations Centre, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



Miguel Cámara completed his Fundamental Biology BSc (Hons) Degree at the Complutense University in Madrid (Spain) in 1988. He moved to the University of Leicester where he completed a Biotechnology Diploma in 1989 followed by his PhD in 1992. He was appointed as Lecturer in the School of Pharmacy at Nottingham University in 1996 and in 2009 was promoted to Professor of Molecular Microbiology currently in the School of Life Sciences. He has supervised more than 60 PhDs and has >160 publications in peer reviewed journals (H-index 70).

He is also Co-Director of the National Biofilms Innovation Centre

Expertise Summary

He has experience in quorum sensing-mediated bacterial cell-cell signaling mechanisms at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level. He has led several drug discovery programs aiming at reducing the impact of antimicrobial resistance through novel anti-virulence target discovery. As part of this work he has experience in the design on bacterial biosensor for high throughput screening of inhibitors of virulence targets.

He has extensive experience in the study of microbial biofilms with the design of bespoke biofilm models with both single species and polymicrobial communities suitable for antimicrobial testing using microscopy, colorimetric, phenotypic and genetic assays.

He is also interested in the identification of novel biomarkers of infection and is currently working on the exploitation of quorum sensing molecules as a biomarker of infection status in cystic fibrosis.

Research Summary

A. Quorum sensing and other bacterial signalling mechanisms

Since 1994 he has been working on the molecular mechanisms governing quorum sensing-mediated signaling mechanism. His research covers from human pathogens to bacteria found in the soil and marine environments. Amongst the main organisms he is currently working on is Pseudomonas aeruginosa in which quorum sensing is reaching a high level of complexity as a result of the vast gathering of information from genomic studies. To understand how quorum sensing cascades integrate within different regulatory networks he has been studying bacterial responses to environmental changes at the genomic, proteomic and metabolomic levels.

His research also covers a wider range of signalling processes in bacteria including those triggered by: (i) yet unknown extracellular signals which control gene expression at the posttranscriptional level through small RNAs and RNA binding proteins, and (ii) fatty acid-based molecules involved in intercellular signalling processes. Amongst other things he is studying, using a range of biofilm models and confocal microscopy, the impact of these signalling mechanisms on biofilm formation.

B. Antimicrobial development

His main research in this area in on (i) the exploitation of quorum sensing as an antibacterial target and (ii) the identification of novel targets for antimicrobial development in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Professor Cámara has been coordinator of the EU Marie Curie Early Stages of Training Network ANTIBIOTARGET on "Molecular and functional genomic approaches to novel antibacterial target discovery". He has also been a partner and member of the management board of the FP7 Cooperation programme NABATIVI on "Novel approaches to bacterial target identification validation and inhibition" a programme run by nine leading European research teams, including three pharmaceutical companies, on the use of multidisciplinary approaches for the development of novel antibacterials against P. aeruginosa. He has also coordinated the JPIAMR consortium SENBIOTAR on 'Sensitising P. aeruginosa biofilms to antibiotics and reducing virulence through novel target inhibition' with research institutions from Canada, Sweden and Denmark.

C. Biofilm research

His group is currently working on different aspects of biofilm research including: (i) molecular mechanisms of biofilm development; (ii) mechanims of biofilm adaptation to low oxygen conditions identified during infection; (iii) identification of novel drugs which can prevent biofilm formation or treat established biofilms through either killing or sensitising them to the action of existing antimicrobials; (iv) mechanisms of interactions between biofilms and the human host and (v) design of bespoke biofilm models which can be used for the study of novel therapeutic interventions. As co-director of the National Biofilms Innovation Centre (NBIC), he is currently working with academic and industrial partners in different areas of biofilm research and innovation. More information on NBIC's reseatch and facilities at Nottingham University can be found here.

D. Biomarkers of infection

He is currently working on the exploitation of quorum sensing signal molecules (QSSMs) from Pseudomonas aeruginosa as a biomarker of infection status in patients with cystic fibrosis.

D. Impact of quorum sensing on bacterial-plant interactions

Through various collaborations nationally and internationally, Prof Camara has studied: (i) the impact of quorum sensing systems from marine bacteria on the interaction between these bacteria and algae and (ii) the role of quorum sensing in the relationship between bacteria and plants.

School of Life Sciences

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham NG7 2UH

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