Tom Wilkinson

Dr Thomas Wilkinson

Associate Professor, Biomedical Sciences

Telephone number

+44 (0) 1792 295018

Welsh language proficiency

Fluent Welsh Speaker

Research Links

Academic Office - 137
First Floor
Institute of Life Science 1
Singleton Campus
Available For Postgraduate Supervision


Dr Wilkinson has extensive experience in host-pathogen interactions using in vitro modelling in epithelial cells, whole blood and animal models. Dr Wilkinson is working to identify useful markers that will help predict risk factors of developing severe infections in humans and animals.  

He has over 40 publications in the host-pathogen field ranging from in vitro cell culture modelling, through in vivo experimental models to ex vivo whole blood modelling. He has secured over £2 million in competitive grant funding. He is Associate Professor and leads the Microbiology and Infectious Disease group at Swansea University. Before moving to Swansea (2008), he was a PDRA in Edinburgh (2004-2008) at the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research and in Seattle at the Hope Heart Institute (2001-2004) working on the inflammatory effects of the extracellular matrix. Dr Wilkinson obtained a BSc in Pharmacology from University of Bath (1997), and a PhD from the University of Wales (2001). 

Areas Of Expertise

  • Host pathogen interactions
  • Novel diagnostic biomarkers
  • Immunity to bacteria
  • Barrier immunity and epithelial cells
  • Invasive infections
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis and S. aureus,
  • Escherichia coli and Campylobacter species
  • Ex vivo whole blood

Career Highlights

Teaching Interests
Tom Wilkinson Teaching Interests

Dr Wilkinson contributes to numerous undergraduate modules, which highlight his expertise and interests in cell biology, immunology, infectious diseases and the role of microbiome in host pathogen interactions.

Dr Wilkinson is now an experienced postgraduate supervisor. He has supported numerous projects to successful completion at MSc by Research and PhD level. He has also examined postgraduate degrees internally at Swansea and also externally across the UK.


Dr Wilkinson’s significant contributions to date have investigated mechanisms of barrier infection and immunity to identify biomarkers of invasive disease using in vitroex vivo, animal models and clinical samples:


Identified new biomarkers including neutrophil proteases in VAP (2012), IL-1β and IL-8 in VAP (2010), C5a and immune-cell dysfunction in critical illness (2009, 2011, 2013). Virulence factors in medical-device-related infections (2017), H. pylori associated gastric cancer (2018), commensal versus pathogenic S. epidermidis (2016).


Developed in vivo models of lung infection (2008a, 2008b, 2009, 2012), peritoneal inflammation (2001) and litter-based gut infection in chickens (2019). Developed in vitro models of lung fibroblast inflammation (2004), lung epithelial cells’ toxicity to nano-particles (2019), gut cell immune responses to pathogens (2017). Developed ex vivo models of whole-blood infection (2015), nasal and lung epithelial cell tolerance to infection (2014).




Award Highlights

Swansea University, Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award 2019


Dr Llinos Harris, SUMS 

Dr Rowena Jenkins, SUMS 

Dr Chris Wright, Dept Engineering 

Dr Martin Clift and Professor Shareen Doak, SUMS 

Professor Martin Sheldon 

Professor Venkat Kanamarlapudi 

Professor William Griffiths and Professor Yuqin Wang, SUMS 

Dr Matthew Hitchings, SUMS 

Dr Owen Bodger, SUMS 

Dr Mike Simmons, Hywel Dda University Health Board 

Professor Keir Lewis, Hywel Dda University Health Board 

Julian Rodgers and Richard Hopkins, Swansea Bay University Health Board 

Dr David Williams, Dental School, Cardiff University 

Professor Kevin Dhaliwal, University of Edinburgh 

Dr Andrew Conway Morris, Cambridge University 

Dr Lisa Williams, SUMS 

Professor Steve Rushton, Newcastle University 

Professor Julian Ketley, Leicester University 

Professor Nick Sparks, University of Edinburgh / Scotland’s Rural College 

Professor Bernd Kaspers, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat-Munchen (LMU)  

Dr Sladjana Malik, Manchester Metropolitan University