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Professor Anthony C. Hilton

Life & Health Sciences School

Aston Teachers: Prof Anthony Hilton
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Professor in Microbiology 
Head of Biology & Biomedical Sciences 
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Fellow of the Society of Biology
Fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Science
National Teaching Fellow 2011



Research Theme

Chronic and Communicable Conditions

Research Centre

Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA) 

2009 -  Reader in Microbiology / Head of Biology & Biomedical Science  Aston University 
2005 - 2009  Senior Lecturer in Microbiology / Programme Director - Biology / BMS  Aston University 
2000 - 2005 Lecturer in Microbiology / Biology Admissions Tutor, Aston University 
1997 - 2000 Lecturer in Food Microbiology, University of Birmingham 
1996 - 1997 Clinical Scientist, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital 
1993 - 1996 PhD, University of Birmingham (Supervisor: Prof. C.W. Penn)
1989 - 1993 BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (Class I; Rank 1st) University of Wolverhampton
  • Applied microbiology
    • Food
    • Clinical
  • Molecular microbiology
  • Salmonella, Campylobacter, MRSA and Escherichia coli O157, Clostridium difficile
  • Molecular epidemiology & typing of microorganisms
  • Insect vectors of disease 
GA ERDF Logo
An increasing number of litigation cases in the UK involve microbiology information that would benefit from expert critical review, interpretation or further development.  I am able to offer expert professional advice in all aspects of microbiology to assist in developing a robust body of evidence to support these cases.  With over 20 years experience in microbiological aspects of food, industrial and clinical microbiology, I have been offering professional microbiology advice to the legal sector for over five years primarily in cases of litigation, clinical negligence and malpractice.  For further information please contact me to discuss your requirements. I am also able to offer microbiological sampling and product testing services.
Anthony Hilton
  • Engaging the public with microbiology
  • Science communication
  • Microbiology education
  • Working with the media
  • Working with the legal sector
  • Inspiring children with science / microbiology
  • Matthew Davies - Role of flying insects in the spread of hospital-associated pathogens
  • Preena Mistry Salmonella carriage in companion animals
  • Amreen Bashir - Control of Salmonella in food manufacturing environments

Anthony Hilton - Grime Scene Investigation

Grime Scene Investigation was an eight-part television series broadcast on BBC3 during Autumn 2006. In each episode a team of scientists in their mobile laboratory would visit a member of the public to reveal the hidden world of microbes living in, on and around them.

If you would like to receive a lecture on the microbiology behind Grime Scene Investigation to your group or institution please email me. The lecture can be delivered to accommodate all levels of interest in microbiology.  An example of a recent lecture to over 600 year 12 students can be viewed here.
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Watch an episode of Grime Scene Investigation online, click on the links.  (Large files)
I have also been involved with other microbiology projects of general interest to the public including a study of bacteria found in cars, on mobile phones, on the hands and under the fingernails.  In recognition of my contribution to the public understanding of microbiology I received the 2009 Society for Applied Microbiology Communication Award and the Aston Excellence Awardfor outstanding contribution to community engagement.  In September 2009 I delivered the Vincent Marks lecture at the Institute of Biomedical Science congress in Birmingham.  During 2010 I appeared at several Cafe Scientifique venues in Medway and Birmingham and also at the Cheltenham and British Science Festivals.  In 2011 the Society for General Microbiology honoured me with the Peter Wildy award for outstanding contribution to microbiology education.

The Cheltenham Science Festival 2010 - Stopping the Spread of Superbugs

In 2010 I was involved in an innovative project sponsored by the Society for General Microbiology which sought to engage the public in the implications of MRSA infection told through the medium of a short play supported by a panel of microbiology experts.  You can watch the play on the Microbiology Online website.  Also available is an interview with Dr Tony Berendt which addresses all the frequently asked questions regarding MRSA infection.

View videos on Microbiology Online >>

The Cheltenham Science Festival 2011 - Microbes on the Menu

People tend to have a generally negative perception of the relationship between microbes and food.  In 2011 I hosted a banquet meal to challenge this assumption where everything on the menu was as a result of the benficial role microbes play either as a direct source of food or in the biological transformation brought about by fermentation.  You can check out the full menu here and additional information about microbes and food here.  You can watch the banquet meal as it is prepared live on stage with a running commentary of the role of the microbes on the Microbiology Online website.  The event was such a success we ran it again in Einstein's Garden at the Green Man Festival in 2011.

View videos on Microbiology Online >>

Check out my Guardian Science Weekly podcast here in my mission to educate the public about germs. How are food poisoning bugs spread around the home? How many household germs are truly dangerous? Can we really build up our immunity by NOT being hygienic?

Have you ever worried about how many bacterial ‘nasties’ are lurking on the buttons of cash machines, pelican-crossings and railings in public places?  What about on the bus, train or in your car?  And then of course there are those bugs in your office: on your computer keyboard and hiding in the fax machine, telephone handset and photocopier.  

In a series of three articles broadcast on BBC One's The One Show I set off to find out. Click on the images below to watch the episodes and find out more. You might be surprised what I found.

The One Show - On the Highstreet
On the Highstreet
The One Show - In the Studio
In the Studio
The One Show - On Public Transport
On Public Transport

The World of Microbiology - Mastering the Invisible, Invinvible, Treatable & Preventable is a two-day microbiology course for Year 10/11 school children to introduce them to microorganisms and their role in health and disease.  The project was initially funded by the Wellcome Trust and continuation funding from The Society for Applied Microbiology.

You can watch an overview of the course by clicking on the image below and download the associated course handbook here.

Particular aspects covered in the course include those detailed in the videos below.  By clicking on the images you can watch the lectures which were recorded during a recent visit to a local high school in Birmingham.

Microbiology Roadshow - Overview of the Course
Overview of the Course
Microbiology for Schools - Introduction to Microbiology
Introduction to Microbiology
Microbiology for Schools  - Introduction to Foodpoisoning
Foodborne Infection
The New Optimists

The New Optimists

In The New Optimists, over 80 of the UK's leading medics, life scientists, engineers, chemists, computer and digital media scientists, environmental and energy experts have combined to share their views of a brighter future. I was one of those scientists.  

You can learn more about my contribution and that of others by visiting the new optimists website and even purchase the book to read it for yourself here.


Statistical Analysis in Microbiology

Statistical Analysis in Microbiology

This book is aimed primarily at microbiologists who are undertaking research, and who require a basic knowledge of statistics to analyse their experimental data. Computer software employing a wide range of data analysis methods is widely available to experimental scientists. The availability of this software, however, makes it even more essential that microbiologists understand the basic principles of statistics. Statistical analysis of data can be complex with many different methods of approach, each of which applies in a particular experimental circumstance. In addition, most statistical software commercially available is complex and difficult to use. Hence, it is easy to apply an incorrect statistical method to data and to draw the wrong conclusions from an experiment.

The purpose of this book is an attempt to present the basic logic of statistics as clearly as possible and therefore, to dispel some of the myths that often surround the subject. The book is presented as a series of 'Statnotes', many of which were originally published in the 'Microbiologist' by the Society for Applied Microbiology, each of which deals with various topics including the nature of variables, comparing the means of two or more groups, non-parametric statistics, analysis of variance, correlating variables, and more complex methods such as multiple linear regression and factor analysis. In each case, the relevant statistical methods are illustrated with scenarios and real experimental data drawn from experiments in microbiology. The text will incorporate a glossary of the most commonly used statistical terms and a section to aid the investigator to select the most appropriate test.

Find out more about this book here or check out Amazon to purchase your copy.

For a full list of publications including those prior to 2004 please follow the link and search for HILTON AC in the Author field.  

Tarja J Karpanen, Barbara R Conway, Tony Worthington, Anthony C Hilton, Tom SJ Elliott and Peter A Lambert  (2010) Enhanced chlorhexidine skin penetration with eucalyptus oil.  BMC Infectious Diseaseshttp://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2334/10/278

Simon WJ Gould, Paul Cuschieri, Jess Rollason, Anthony C Hilton, Sue Easmon and Mark D Fielder (2010) The need for continued monitoring of antibiotic resistance patterns in clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus from London and Malta. Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials http://www.ann-clinmicrob.com/content/9/1/20

Lauren M. Green, Tony Worthington, Anthony C. Hilton & Peter A. Lambert (2009) Phenotypic characterisation of Clostridium difficile reveals lack of extracellular virulence factor production and significant differences in antibiogram profiles. Int J Antimicrob Agents doi:10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2009.10.018 

Edward Hurrell, Eva Kucerova, Michael Loughlin, Juncal Caubilla-Barron, Anthony C Hilton, Richard Armstrong, Craig Smith, Judith Grant, Shiu Shoo and Stephen Forsythe (2009) Neonatal enteral feeding tubes as loci for colonisation by members of the Enterobacteriaceae BMC Infectious Diseases 9 (14)  http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2334/9/146/abstract

Karpanen TJ, Worthington T, Conway BR, Hilton AC, Elliott TS, Lambert PA. (2009) Permeation of chlorhexidine from alcoholic and aqueous solutions within excised human skin. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. Jan 21. [Epub ahead of print]

Wheeldon LJ, Worthington T, Hilton AC, Elliott TS, Lambert PA. (2009) Physical and chemical factors influencing the germination of Clostridium difficile spores. J Appl Microbiol105(6): 2223-30.

S. W. J. Gould, J. Rollason, A. C. Hilton, P. Cuschieri, L. McAuliffe, S. L. Easmon and M. D. Fielder (2008)   UK epidemic strains of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in clinical samples from Malta  J Med Microbiol ; 57: 1394-1398

Karpanen, T.J., Worthington, T., Conway, B.R., Hilton, A.C., Elliot, T.S. and Lambert, P.A.(2008)  Penetration of chlorhexidine into human skin. Antimicrob. Agents.Chemother. August Epub ahead of print. [online]

Wheeldon, L.J, Worthington, T., Lambert, P.A., Hilton, A.C., Lowden, C.J., and Elliott, T.S. (2008)  Antimicrobial efficacy of copper surfaces against Clostridium difficile spores. 
J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 
 June Epub ahead of print [online]

Wheeldon, L.J, Worthington, T., Hilton, A.C., Lambert, P.A., and Elliott, T.S.J. (2008)
Sporicidal activity of two disinfectants against Clostridium difficile spores. 
Br. J. Nurs. 
17, 316-320. [online]

Caddick, J.M., Hilton, A.C., Armstrong, R.A., Lambert, P.A. Worthington, T. and Elliott, T.S.J. (2006)  Description and critical appraisal of principal components analysis (PCA) methodology applied to pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profiles of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates. J. Microbiol. Meth. 65, 87-95. [online]

Casey, A.L., Worthington, T., Caddick, J.M, Hilton, A.C., Lambert, P.A. and Elliott, T.S.J. (2006)  RAPD for the typing of coagulase-negative staphylococci implicated in catheter-related bloodstream infection.J. Infect. 52, 282-289. [online]

Small HE, Casey AL, Rollason J, Ball S, Hilton, A.C., Elliott TSJ (2008)  The oral cavity - an overlooked site for MRSAscreening and subsequent decolonisation therapy? Journal of Infection 55 378-383 [online]

Bastin, L., Rollason, J., Hilton, A.C., Pillay, D., Corcoran, C., Elgy, J., Lambert, P., Worthington, T., De, P.,and Burrows, K. (2007)  Spatial aspects of MRSA epidemiology: a case study using stochastic simulation, kernel estimation and SaTScan. Intl. J. Geograph. Inf. Sci. 21, 811-835. [online]

Caddick, J.M., Hilton, A.C., Rollason, J., Lambert, P.A., Worthington, T. and Elliott, T.S.J. (2005)  Molecular analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus reveals an absence of plasmid DNA in multidrug-resistant isolates. FEMS Immunol. Med. Microbiol., 44, 297-302. [online]

Braoudaki M, Hilton, A.C. (2005) Mechanisms of resistance in Salmonella enterica adapted to erythromycin, benzalkonium chloride and triclosan. Int J Antimicrob Agents. Jan;25(1):31-7. [online]

Braoudaki M, Hilton, A.C. (2004)  Low level of cross-resistance between triclosan and antibiotics in Escherichia coli K-12 and E. coli O55 compared to E. coli O157.
FEMS Microbiol Lett. Jun 15;235(2):305-9. [online]

Braoudaki M, Hilton, A.C. (2004)Adaptive resistance to biocides in Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli O157 and cross-resistance to antimicrobial agents.J Clin Microbiol. Jan;42(1):73-8. [online]

K.J. Parker, D.L.Rathbone, P.A.Lambert, M.D.Coleman, A.C.Hilton, A. Worthington, D.C. Billington. (2006) Anti-Bacterial Compounds. International Patent, Application Number PCT/GB2006/000101, Filing date: 12.01.06, Priority date: 12.01.05 
Email: a.c.hilton@aston.ac.uk 
Phone:  +44 (0)1212043960
Mobile: 07703 716512 
Skype: use the Call me button below.
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Microbiology Course Video (Overview)

Microbiology Course Video (Overview)

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research