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David Williams

Professor David Williams

Theme Lead for Oral and Biomedical Sciences, Professor of Oral Microbiology, School of Dentistry

School of Dentistry

Available for postgraduate supervision


Professor of Oral Microbiology at the School of Dentistry with a research focus in microbial biofilms.

































Book sections




My research interests primarily focus in the fields of oral microbiology and microbial biofilms. Previous research has been directed towards elucidating the role of Candida in chronic hyperplastic candidosis (CHC), which led to the development of novel genotypic methods for identifying Candida species in fixed tissues. The significance of this work was recognised through receipt of both the Colgate Prize and the IADR/Unilever Hatton Award. Additional Candida research has included the study of antifungal susceptibility of Candida species, virulence gene expression and real-time PCR detection of Candida in oral samples. I have also investigated interaction of Candida with associated bacteria in oral tissue and on medical devices (e.g. silicone rubber, acrylic, and titanium). The invasive properties of Candida based on in vitro tissue models has successfully revealed strain and species variation which could have significance in disease progression. Research in this area has benefited through collaboration with colleagues at the University of Minho (Braga, Portugal), the Gdansk Institute of Technology (Gdansk, Poland), and the Piracicaba Dental School, University of Campinas (Piracicaba, Brazil).  have also been involved in studies aimed at elucidating the innate immune response to Candida through cytokine signalling, T-cell differentiation and immune cell infiltration of infected tissues.
Additional biofilm research projects have included the study of endotracheal tube biofilms and their role in ventilator-associated pneumonia, a leading cause of mortality in intensive care units. This work was initiated through close collaboration with Professor J Thomas (University of West Virginia, USA) and in close collaboration with colleagues in the ICU of the University Hospital of Wales.
Urinary tract catheter biofilms are a leading cause of healthcare associated infection and with industrial collaboration together with colleagues at the Bristol Urological Institute we have developed medical devices to aid in the management of these infections.
Chronic wounds are those that do not heal within an expected time-frame and represent a significant cause of patient morbidity and increased healthcare costs. One potential factor involved in delayed wound healing is the presence of microbial biofilms within the wound which are often recalcitrant to antibiotic therapy. Our research has not only characterised these biofilms through culture and molecular analysis but also focused on mechanisms to rapidly detect pathogenic bacterial biofilms within the tissue. 

Current Research Projects:

1. Interkingdom relationships in oral biofilms 
2. The role of the oral microflora in promoting pneumonia in artificially ventilated patients
3. Novel treatments to combat endodontic biofilms
4. Evaluation of new antibiotics to combat antimicrobial resistance
5. Evaluation of extracellular polymeric substances in biofilms and impact of its removal for the biofilm
6. Effect of biofilms on host immune responses


I teach a variety of subjects associated with Oral Microbiology for the dental undergraduate BDS course and for additional postgraduate courses including the Masters in Oral Biology for which I am a module lead. My teaching responsibilities comprise lectures, seminars, practical classes and student assessment. I am a full member of the The Higher Education Academy and a member of the Association of Basic Science Teachers in Dentistry (ABSTD). In terms of external teaching contributions I examine for PhD, MPhil, and MSc students and I am currently an external examiner for the University of Birmingham.


Career Profile

2013-Present Professor of Oral Microbiology   (Cardiff University)
2007- 2013   Reader in Oral Microbiology  (Cardiff University)
2003-2007 Lecturer in Oral Microbiology (UWCM)
1999-2003 Lecturer in Oral Microbiology   (UWCM)
1997-1999 Postdoctoral Research Fellow (UWCM)
1994 Diploma in Biomedical Methods (with Distinction) (UWCM)
1993-1996 MRC PhD Studentship (UWCM)
1987-1993 Research Officer (Leatherhead Food
Research Association)
1983-1987   BSc (Hons.) Applied Biology (First Class)  (UWCC)

Teaching Profile

I teach a variety of subjects associated with Oral Microbiology for the dental undergraduate course and for additional postgraduate courses. My teaching responsibilities comprise lectures, seminars, practical classes and student assessment. I am a full member of the The Higher Education Academy and a member of the Association of Basic Science Teachers in Dentistry (ABSTD).

External Assessment

Past and current - School of Clinical Dentistry, Sheffield University (2014-2018; Integrated Human Diseases), King’s College London (2014-19; BDS mid-phase I), Trinity College Dublin (2018-2021) and the University of Birmingham (2019-present).

Honours and awards

Personal awards:

Senior Colgate Prize (1996, BSDR)
Edward H Hatton Award (1997, IADR)

Associated Undergraduate/Postgraduate/Postdoctoral Awards:

Franklyn Williams Elective 2004
PPP Foundation Poster Competition (3rd prize; 2002)
Dental Protection Society Premiere Award (2nd prize; 2002)
Dentsply Student Clinician Award (2002)
Graduate School in Biomedical and Life Sciences Travel Grant (2006)
Bristol Urological Institute Prize Innovation (2009)
The Simon Foundation (2011) Poster Prize Award

Professional memberships

International Association of Dental Research (IADR)
British Society of Oral and Dental Research (BSODR), and previously Honorary Secretary
British Society of Medical Mycology (BSMM)
Association of Basic Science Teachers in Dentistry (ABSTD)
Association of Clinical Oral Microbiologists (ACOM)
The Higher Education Academy
Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER)
Oral Microbiology and Immunology Group (OMIG), and committee member (2011-present)
Oral Medicine and Pathology Group (OMPG)

Academic positions

1. Reader in Oral Microbiology 2007-2013, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University.
2. Senior lecturer in Oral Microbiology 2003-2007, Cardiff University.
3. Lecturer in Oral Microbiolgy 1999-2003, Cardiff University.

Committees and reviewing

Editorial board member of the Journal of Oral Microbiology

Editorial board member Pathogens

Editorial board member of Biofilms (specialty section of Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology) 

Grant Reviewer, MRC, BBSRC, NBIC


I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Biofilm development
  • Oral infection
  • Antimicrobial resistance