In September I am planning to initiate a new research project on the interaction of bacteria with cellular and hard surfaces. It is in collaboration with Jude Curran and is co-funded by Unilever and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. We have already used the optical method of caustics in a microscope to track and characterise the movement of synthetic nanoparticles as small as 3 nm in an array of biologically-relevant solutions [see ‘Nano biomechanical engineering of agent delivery to cells’ on December 15th, 2021]. We have also used the same technique to characterise and quantify the motion and growth of bacteria in solutions. Now, we plan to use caustic signatures as a label-free tracking technology for pre-clinical testing of antimicrobial solutions and coatings. We plan to start by considering binding and removal of viral particles and bacterial spores from hard and soft laundry surfaces using various bacterial species, including Staph aureus which is responsible for laundry malodour; before progressing to the interaction of bacteria with human oral and skin cell cultures. We are in the process of recruiting a suitable PhD student so if you are interested or know someone who might be suitable then get in touch. If you want to learn more about our tracking technology and fancy a pint of science, then join us in Liverpool in May for part of the world’s largest festival of public science. I will be talking about ‘Revealing the invisible: real-time motion of virus particles’ on May 10th at 7.30pm on Leaf of Bold Street.