Exploring the skin microbiome's response to chemicals used in skin products

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: School of Biosciences


The skin microbiome, like many other human microbiomes, involves a close relationship between the host and the microbes (mainly bacteria). With respect to skin these bacteria are mainly members of the genera Propionibacterium and Stap hylococcus, but Micrococcus and Corynebacterium species also feature and the abundance depends on which site is being sampled. The majority of these bacteria reside at the surface of the skin and to a lesser extent in the sweat and sebaceous glands. Thus any cleaning actions or application of cosmetic products will mainly impact and interact with the microbes on the epidermis.

This project proposal will outline how we can begin to understand how commonly used surfactants, such as Tween or SDS, impact on the most common skin bacteria and ultimately on the skin microbiota in this microbiome. The successful PhD student will undertake research to perform the tasks outlined below:-

Task 1: The impact of cosmetic surfactants on the physiology of skin bacteria: Four skin bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermis and Micrococcus luteus will be chosen as model organisms since they are among the most commonly observed species found on the skin (Oh et al., 2016: PMID: 27153496).

Task 2: The impact of cosmetic surfactants on the skin bacteria's metabolome:

Task 3: Profiling the skin microbiome in situ using metataxonomic tools (16S rRNA gene profiling):


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/R505079/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2021
1952028 Studentship BB/R505079/1 30/09/2017 31/12/2021 Hannah Elizabeth Salvage