'Five second rule' scientist gives inaugural lecture

Prof of Microbiology & deputy exec dean, LHS
Anthony Hilton, Professor of Microbiology

4 May 2017

  • ‘5 second rule’ scientist and media commentator talks dirty with his lowdown on bacteria and their multi-faceted roles in our lives
  • Public lecture free to attend on 29 June – reserve your place here

Find out how and why bacteria have risen from the depths of obscurity to being headline news and high profile on the public agenda.

Award-winning science communicator Anthony Hilton, Professor of Microbiology at Aston University and star of Grime Scene Investigations, will give his inaugural lecture on Adventures in Applied Microbiology (and other short stories) on Thursday 29 June.

Anthony, who made headlines recently with a re-run of his ‘5 second rule’ research, will lead the audience on a journey to discover the invisible world of microbiology where microbes lurk - and how we can avoid becoming their next victim.

“Over the past 20 years bacteria have gone from invisible creatures of obscurity, considered of little importance to the wider public than the cause of an occasional inconvenient infection,” said Anthony, who is deputy executive dean of the School of Life and Health Sciences. “Today, however, bacteria are high on the public agenda and never far from the news headlines.

“Much has happened in recent years to better our understanding of microbiology and to reveal the intimate relationship humans share with microbes, raising awareness of their multiple roles as our friends and foes.”

Anthony joined Aston University in 2000 from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Public & Environmental Health. At Aston, he has continued to pursue his research interest in the molecular epidemiology of foodborne pathogens and other important clinical bacteria including MRSA and Clostridium difficile.

Through his regular work with the media, Anthony is a well-known expert commentator in print and broadcast in the field of microbiology. His involvement in the Big Bang science fair in Birmingham in March, talking about his ‘5 second rule’ research and food dropped on the floor, resulted in more than 100 pieces of media coverage, including an appearance on the red sofa of BBC Breakfast, Good Morning Britain and World at One.

He also featured in an eight part BBC series, Grime Scene Investigation, taking a mobile laboratory to people’s homes where he revealed the microbial world living around them. He has also featured on the BBC’s The One Show and Rip Off Britain.

In 2006 he received the Society for Applied Microbiology Award in recognition of his contribution to public awareness of harmful germ transmission. He continues to actively engage the public and younger students in the world of microbiology and last month played the part of the narrator in a play he had commissioned – The Drugs Don’t Work: a tale of resistance – about antibiotic resistance which was performed at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum.

The lecture is open to members of the public and is free of charge. Details of the event are:

The lecture is open to members of the public and is free of charge. Details are:

  • When: Thursday, 29 June, from 18:30 to 20:30. Refreshments from 17:30. 
  • Where: Sumpner Lecture Theatre, Main Building, Aston University,        Birmingham, B4 7ET
  • A buffet will follow the lecture  

  Please book your free place via the website by clicking here 


Notes to the editor

  • For more information about Professor Anthony Hilton, visit his academic profile page.
  • Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston University has been always been a force for change. For 50 years the University has been transforming lives through pioneering research, innovative teaching and graduate employability success. Aston is renowned for its opportunity enabler through broad access and inspiring academics, providing education that is applied and has real impact on all areas of society, business and industry.

For more information, call Susi Turner, Press & PR Officer, on 0121 204 4978 or email s.j.turner@aston.ac.uk  

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