Research Groups

Leading scientists and clinicians around the world are engaged in researching the antimicrobial characteristics of copper.

Use the filter drop downs to find researchers in your region/country.  If you are engaged in research into the efficacy of solid copper and copper alloys and would like your research group to appear here, please contact Copper Development Association.

Researchers Links
Professor Shannon Hinsa-Leasure

Shannon Hinsa-Leasure is an associate professor of biology and an environmental microbiologist at Grinnell College in Iowa. Her projects investigate the ability of copper alloy materials to reduce bacterial loads in hospital and fitness center settings and characterise antibiotic resistance gene profiles in farm settings.

A key study explores the ability of copper alloy surfaces to reduce bacterial loads in medical and surgical suite rooms and around the hospital at Grinnell Regional Medical Center in the US. Two undergraduates sampled surfaces at the hospital, determining bacterial loads on surfaces in copper alloy and control rooms, and identified bacteria found on these high-touch surfaces.

The project was expanded to the fitness centre at Grinnell College, where investigation is under way of the ability of copper alloys to reduce bacterial loads on commonly touched surfaces such as dumbbells, barbells and grips. Through this work, the researchers aim to improve the health of patients and athletes by reducing bacterial loads on key surfaces.

Dr Merja Ahonen Dr Merja Ahonen, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences

Dr Ahonen is a senior researcher and leader of the Hygtech Project, which seeks solutions to manage hygiene in indoor environments and includes the assessment of antimicrobial touch surfaces in a variety of building types.

In the first phase, indoor environmental hygiene, microbiological measuring technology and user’s needs and requirements were studied focusing on surfaces, ventilation, and water. The research was carried out in several full scale pilot buildings in the Satakunta region according to Living Lab theme. The project pulled together the central elements of indoor environment microbiological hygiene generating new business into the area.

The second phase is the Hygness Hygiene into Business project, which will endorse the smart specialization of the Satakunta region in the field of indoor hygiene and related resource efficient building engineering. The objectives of the project include surveying the indoor hygiene related business potential in the whole Satakunta region and to create a strong foundation for clusterization as well as for Satakunta area to becoming an innovation centre in the field. At this turning point in both economy and industry, hygienic products and solutions are truly a potential opportunity to several fields of business and manufacturers.

Satakunta University of Applied Sciences
WANDER Nordic Water and Materials Institute
PL 211 | P.O. Box 211 | FI-26101 Rauma | Finland
(Street address: Suojantie 2)

Tel: +358 44 710 3061

Dr. Julian Manuel Dominguez Fernandez Dr. Julian Manuel Dominguez Fernandez, University Hospital of Ceuta

1) Laboratory Test comparing survival of E. coli and imipenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumanii (ABRIM) on stainless steel and antimicrobial copper door pull-handles.

Handles of both metals were each contaminated with E.coli and ABRIM respectively, and sampled to measure growth / reduction. The results confirmed the efficacy of antimicrobial copper against both pathogens, and encouraged an in-situ study on handles in use in an ICU.

2) In-situ Study comparing bacterial loading on stainless steel and antimicrobial copper door handles in use within a hospital ICU.

The existing stainless steel handles were sampled, then replaced with the copper-alloy handles. After 3 months, the copper-alloy handles were sampled. The total number of colonies on the copper-alloy handles was significantly lower, with a 94% CFU reduction, on the copper-alloy handles compared to the stainless steel handles.

The findings confirmed the antibacterial efficacy of copper door handles installed in an ICU and support the use of copper materials in hospital furniture to reduce bacterial loading of touch surfaces. As an adjunct to hand hygiene and cleaning, this will help to reduce the risk of nosocomial infections.

Co-researchers: Dr. López Barba, microbiologist, Head of Laboratory Services and Javier Domínguez Fernández, Head of Maintenance (Mobile: +034 670 022 619, Office: +034 856 907036).

Professor Bill Keevil Professor Bill Keevil, University of Southampton

Professor C W Keevil, Director of the Environmental Healthcare Unit in the School of Biological Sciences, and his team at the University of Southampton, examine survival rates of deposits of pathogens (including MRSA, E Coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Influenza A (H1N1), Aspergillus niger, Clostridium difficile) in a dry environment on stainless steel (the metal most commonly used in healthcare and food processing institutions) and on a range of copper alloys.

Dr Michael Schmidt Dr Michael Schmidt, Medical University of South Carolina

Dr Schmidt is Professor and Vice Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology with research interests in bacterial protein export, molecular pathogenesis, biodefense preparedness, biofilm development and succession, environmental microbiology and most recently the role the inherent microbial burden associated with objects from the built environment plays in the acquisition of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs).

In concert with colleagues from the Infectious Disease Division of MUSC, the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center of Charleston, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Copper Development Association, Dr Schmidt is investigating the relationship that the inherent microbial burden plays in conferring a risk that a patient will either be colonised or develop an infection from the microbes associated with the objects encountered as a result of routine care while in hospital.

Professor Shaheen Mehtar Professor Shaheen Mehtar, University of Stellenbosch

In the preliminary phase of the African Health Care Initiative, a team of specialist scientists from the University of Stellenbosch, led by internationally renowned Infection Control Specialist, Professor Shaheen Mehtar, proved for the first time internationally via in vitro testing of clinical strains that copper touch surfaces are effective in killing multi-drug resistant bacteria including tuberculosis.

These very exciting observations are now being followed up in South Africa via testing in a real clinic environment. Professor Mehtar's team will be documenting copper's biostatic abilities in both a copper fitted TB 'cough room' at a provincial hospital and at a copper fitted rural health clinic. The learning from these first phase clinical trials will be carried through to a second phase of some 12 clinics across some 6 Southern African countries.

Dr Matthew Taylor Dr Matthew Taylor, YHEC

Matthew has a Ph.D. degree in health outcomes research and an M.Sc. in Health Economics from the University of York, and has worked for YHEC since 2003. Matthew is the YHEC lead for health technology assessment and economic evaluations of pharmaceutical technologies. He leads a number of teams undertaking economic evaluations for NICE, SMC and AWMSG industry submissions as well as health technology submissions in various international settings.

In this role, Matthew was instrumental in producing the YHEC cost-benefit model illustrating the economic rationale of installing copper touch surfaces, which indicates payback in less than two months for a UK 20-bed ICU. For details, see the Business Case.

Whilst he is primarily involved with working on economic models, Matthew has also undertaken numerous model adaptations, cost-of-illness studies, quality of life research, systematic literature reviews and theoretical research for clients in both the private and public sectors. Dr Taylor also teaches on the University’s Distance Learning course, and leads a number of health economics training courses at YHEC, including:

Matthew is a member of the NICE Public Health Advisory Committee.

Dr Jean-Yves Maillard Dr Jean-Yves Maillard, Cardiff University

Dr Jean-Yves Maillard's research focuses on microbicides, an area of global importance due to the rise in healthcare-associated infections and emerging microbial resistance. Among his many research activities in this field, his group is developing an antimicrobial surface efficacy test, based on real conditions found in the hospital environment, to quantify the activity of a range of antimicrobial surfaces – including copper – against major pathogens including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile.

The work aims to provide an easy to use, cost effective and repeatable methodology for healthcare services to distinguish the activity of different commercially-available antimicrobial surfaces. this particular work is being funded by the Department of Health.  Dr Maillard is also on the British Standards Institute committee working to develop a suitable test for antimicrobial hard surfaces.

Professor Marc Solioz Professor Marc Solioz, Tomsk State University

Marc Solioz is Professor at Tomsk State University, Russia. In his newly-established Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, metal resistance of bacteria, gene regulation by metals and the mechanisms underlying the antimicrobial properties of copper are being investigated. In collaboration with material scientists at the University of Saarbrücken, the effects of copper oxidation, surface structure and alloying on contact killing are being studied.

Dr Alisson Venazzi Dr Alisson Venazzi, Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP)

Physician, researcher and pursuing a master's degree at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), working in Acute Renal Failure, Intensive Care, Psychiatry and Mental Health.Project: 'Impact of deploying Antimicrobial Copper Surfac

Physician, researcher and pursuing a master's degree at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), working in Acute Renal Failure, Intensive Care, Psychiatry and Mental Health.Project: 'Impact of deploying Antimicrobial Copper Surfaces within the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a Philanthropic Hospital in Sao Paulo - Brazil'.
Bio: Degree in Medicine from the State University of Western Paraná (2011).

Universidade Estadual do Oeste do Paraná, Hospital Universitário do Oeste do Paraná.
Avenida tancredo Neves, 2433
Santo Onofre, 85801230 - Cascavel, PR - Brasil
Telefone: (45) 33215151
www.unioeste.br/huop
Google Academic profile
Lattes profile

Kouskouni Evangelia Kouskouni Evangelia, Medical School of Athens University, Areteion Hospital

Project 1:  Established research protocol regarding the antimicrobial properties of  the end-products of copper and its alloys, based on EPA  standardization.

Project 2 : Assessment of the antimicrobial properties of copper-alloy touch surfaces, their bioburden and students' epidemiology in Athens Educational Association - Arsakeion Schools.

Project 3 : Assessment of the antimicrobial properties of copper alloy deployed in a Digital thermometer for axilliary usage, as a new device for measuring the temperature of the body with reducied risk of cross-infection.

Dr Patrick Pina Dr Patrick Pina, Hôpital de Rambouillet

Assessment of copper as an adjunct to standard infection control practices in the intensive care and paediatric units. The Centre hospitalier de Rambouillet fitted bed rails, trolleys, taps, handrails, door handles and push plates made of copper and copper alloys.

Dr Valeria Prado Dr Valeria Prado, Faculty of Medicine of University of Chile

Assessing the impact of copper contact surfaces or copper alloys, in reducing the risk of acquiring nosocomial infections.Assessing the impact of copper contact surfaces or copper alloys, in reducing the risk of acquiring nosocomial infections.

Dr. Valeria Prado
Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile
Av. Independencia 1027, Santiago, Chile.

Dr Gregor Grass Dr Gregor Grass, Institut für Mikrobiologie der Bundeswehr

General research interests are in microbe-metal interactions. For all life there is an absolute requirement for a number of trace element metals. While these metals are needed in low concentrations for growth, the same metals become easily toxic when in excess. One focus of his research is concerned with the mode-of-antimicrobial action exerted by metallic copper surfaces.

Dr Takeshi Sasahara Dr Takeshi Sasahara, Kitasato University

Dr Takeshi Sasahara is an Assistant Professor at the Kitasato University School of Medicine. He belongs to the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology. His speciality is Environmental Microbiology and Infection Immunology.

Dr Takeshi Sasahara is an Assistant Professor at the Kitasato University School of Medicine. He belongs to the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology. His speciality is Environmental Microbiology and Infection Immunology. He has made numerous presentations and papers on his research at the Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases and the Japanese Society of Chemotherapy.

He has investigated the bactericidal activity of copper and its alloys in the hospital environment. Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were killed when grown on the surface of copper alloys, depending on the incubation period, with P aeruginosa being the most sensitive. Japanese coins made of nickel silver, cupronickel, bronze and brass also inhibited the growth of these bacteria on nutrient agar.

On the basis of these results, a clinical trial was started to monitor the level of contamination by nosocomia bacteria on the surface of copper alloys in the Dematology Ward and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Kitasato University Hospital from 2005. It was found that copper alloys had a superior sanitising effect in the hospital environment.

Dr John Holah Dr John Holah, Campden BRI

Dr John Holah is the Business Development Project Manager - Hygiene  at Campden BRI. The Hygiene team is a multi-departmental group that is researching the application of antimicrobial surfaces – including copper and its alloys – in the food industry.

The Hygiene team are also working in conjunction with other groups such as Universities, the BSI and CEN to develop testing methods. These aim to help the chemical industry validate the label claims of antibacterial surfaces and coatings, along with helping users, such as the food industry, understand how, when and for how long these materials are effective in practice.

Campden BRI is the UK's largest independent membership-based organisation carrying out research and development for the food and drinks industry worldwide. It is committed to providing industry with the research, technical and advisory services needed to ensure product safety and quality, process efficiency and product and process innovation.

Prof. Dr. Frank Mücklich Prof. Dr. Frank Mücklich, University of Saarland

Professor Frank Mücklich is Chair of the Department of materials science at the University of Saarland. The four main areas of research are: 3D materials analysis on micro-, nano- and atomic scale, structure of and damage, Tailor-made surfaces by laser structuring, Functional thin films Functional Materials for electrical applications. In collaboration with Professor Marc Solioz, Tomsk State University, the effects of copper oxidation, surface structure and alloying on contact killing are being studied.

Copper and copper alloys are engineering materials that are durable, colourful and recyclable and are widely available in various product forms suitable for a range of manufacturing purposes. Copper and its alloys offer a suite of materials for designers of functional, sustainable and cost-effective products.

Copper and certain copper alloys have intrinsic antimicrobial properties (so-called ‘Antimicrobial Copper’) and products made from these materials have an additional, secondary benefit of contributing to hygienic design. Products made from Antimicrobial Copper are a supplement to, not a substitute for standard infection control practices. It is essential that current hygiene practices are continued, including those related to the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.

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