Peter Zilm

Dr Peter Zilm

Senior Lecturer

Adelaide Dental School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


My core area of research investigates the phenotypic and molecular changes in bacteria are when growing as biofilms and at relevant growth rates found in nature. All projects are supported with the latest technology utilising cellular impedance, (exCELLigence©) continuous culture, proteomics, metabolomics and new generation sequencing. Our research is focussed on bacteria that are linked to oral disease such as tooth decay (caries) and periodontal disease and which grow as biofilms on soft and hard surfaces. Recent published research has linked the potential for the systemic migration of oral bacteria (Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum) from the mouth which potentially leads to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, pregnancy implications and cancer.
We also have major collaborations with chemical engineers and industry in developing nano-technology as antimicrobial and anti-biofilm agents (intelligent particles) and coatings for surfaces on medical devices.
Other major collaborative projects with the Faculty of Science investigates the stress response to antimicrobials by the major pathogens, Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis.

Available Research Projects
Translational Research in Oral Health Science

Research Project 1 - The development of “intelligent” particles to improve treatment of dental caries in children and the elderly

Project description: Dental caries remains one of the most preventable chronic diseases and is particularly prevalent in socio-economically disadvantaged populations. It has a huge impact on healthcare systems and is a major public health concern in Australia. Dental caries results from the dissolution of tooth enamel and dentine as a result of acids produced by oral bacteria. The extent of decay in children has increased, with half of all children having decay in at least one permanent tooth by the age of twelve. In addition, the aging population and the increase in cognitively impaired patients residing in nursing homes show increased dental caries due to difficulties for carers to brush the teeth of frail nursing home residents.

We propose a new and innovative preventative strategy using intelligent particles (IPs) that have twin mechanisms, firstly to disrupt the structure of the cariogenic plaque bacterial biofilm and then to kill the bacteria using ultra-small silver (Ag) nanoparticles. The specific objectives of the project are:

1. To engineer “IPs containing which will respond to the presence of cariogenic bacteria which produce a low pH (≤ 5.5) environment.

2. To improve the substantivity of the IPs.

3. Show that the IPs are not toxic to mammalian cells.

Projects available for: Honours/ HDR / Masters / Mphil
Location: Helen Mayo South Building;
Research project start:
Semester 1 and 2

Special requirements: none

 

Research Project 2 - Disruption of multi-species biofilms using novel biofilm inhibitors

Project description: The goal is to produce an antimicrobial agent and a ‘biofilm breaker’ that will, in combination, disrupt and destroy the bacterial biofilms associated with disease. The work is based upon our research that show DAA’s dramatically reduce the biofilm growth of Enterococcus faecalis, an organism which is a significant pathogen.

We have published research that shows that E. faecalis promotes biofilm growth as part of the organism’s coordinated stress response to sub-MIC levels of sodium hypochlorite. To counteract this, we propose the use of agents that disrupt biofilm growth and therefore reduce the organism’s resistance to anti-microbial treatment.

Biofilm research has been revolutionized with the adaptation of the xCELLigence® system to study bacterial biofilms. The xCELLigence® platform has the advantage over currently used protocols by monitoring biofilm development or dissociation in real time. The platform is particularly suited to the rapid screening and validation of anti-bacterial/anti-biofilm agents. The xCELLigence® allows easy quantitative comparisons between different treatments, with both bacterial cells and extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) contributing to cell impedance. Achieving such a detailed biofilm dynamic is impossible with current assays.

Projects available for: Honours/ HDR / Masters / Mphil
Location: Helen Mayo South Building;
Research project start:
Semester 1 and 2

Special requirements: none
 

 

Research Project 3 - Is the dysbiosis of the gut microbiome and subsequent inflammation caused by changes in the gut metabolome of mice with periodontitis?

Project description: Research in recent years has shown the gut microbiome to be a key to human health. Our research has shown that the gut microbiome is significantly altered at both the phylum and genus levels following induction of periodontitis by oral inoculation of F. nucleatum and P. gingivalis. Additionally, this modification was associated with a significant change at a physiological level, as detected by significantly increased inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

To better understand the link between periodontal disease, gut microbiome and increased inflammation in the GI tract, it’s pivotal to get a better understanding of the activity of the gut microbiome by identifying the metabolites produced. This will allow us to link changes at the physiological level, like increased inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract with observed in the gut microbiome.

Hypothesis: A dysbiosis in the gut microbiome as a result of F. nucleatum and P. gingivalis induced periodontitis in mice causes a change in the gut metabolome that maybe detrimental to the health of the host.

Projects available for: Honours/ HDR / Masters / Mphil
Location: Helen Mayo South Building;
Research project start: Semester 1 and 2
Special requirements: Animal ethics clearance

 

 

Research Collaborations:

Dr. Alex Mira, Centre for Public Health Research. Avda. Cataluña 21, 46020 Valencia (Spain). Biofilm development using the exCELLigence platform

Dr Stephen Kidd - Molecular and Life Science, University of Adelaide. Stress responses of oral bacteria. and Small colony variants of Staphylococcus aureus as a precursor to biofilm formation. and The association between Fusobacterium nucleatum and  adverse birth outcomes.

Professor Claire Roberts.  NHMRC Senior Research Fellow. Robinson Institute, School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health, The University of Adelaide. The relationship between periodontitis and adverse birth outcomes.

Dr Claus Christopherson. Lecturer, School of Exercise and Health Sciences Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science Edith Cowan University. Fusobacterium nucleatum as an emerging gut pathogen.

 Professor Krasimir Vasilev. Humboldt Fellow, School of Engineering Mawson Lakes Campus. University of South Australia. Mawson Lakes SA 5095. The development of "intelligent particles" to disrupt oral microbial biofilms and there use in dental treatment.

Associate Professor Giampiero Rossi-Fedele. Head of Endodontics. The School of Dentistry. The University of Adelaide.The use of D-amino acids to disrupt oral microbial biofilms and there use in endodontic treatment.

 

Date Project Title Investigators Funding Body Amount
2019 The development of antibacterial and antibiofilm "intelligent particles" to fight dental caries. Zilm, P Vasilev, K Fitzsimmons, T ADRF 11,250
2019 Incorporation of silver nanoclusters into polymethyl methacrylate to reduce adherence of Candida albicans on denture surfaces

Zilm, P Chan, C
Vasilev, K
Richards, L
Kidd, S

ADRF 5,500
2018 xCelligence Biofilm platform

Fitzsimmons, T Zilm, P
Richter, K

Faculty Infrastructure Grant 88,780
2018 The effectiveness of D-amino acids at inhibiting and removing supra-gingival oral biofilms

Zilm, P Wali, F
Bartold, PM

ADRF 8,622
2018 Disruption of multi-species endodontic biofilms using D-amino acids incorporated into polymer encapsulated particles.

Zilm, P Khider, D
Rossi-Fedele, R
Vasilev, K

ADRF 8,336
2018 Is the dysbiosis of the gut microbiome and subsequent inflammation caused by changes in the gut metabolome of pregnant mice with periodontitis? P. Zilm, M Macowan, S Kidd, C Christophersen Australian Dental Research Foundation (ADRF) 9,360
2018 Effect of probiotic treatment in an experimental model of periodontitis S. Gatej, PM Bartold, N Gully, P Zilm, C Christophersen Autralian Dental Research Foundation 10,012
2017-18 The effectiveness of D-amino acids to inhibit and remove oral biofilms P. Zilm, PM Bartold Colgate Palmolive 236,909
2017 MiniBio bioreactor for continuous culture of bacteria

Zilm, P, Roberts,C
Haynes, D, Bartold,PM,Kidd, S

Faculty Infrastructure Grant 43,034
2017 High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) assessment of release of calcium hydroxide and D-amino acids incorporated into polymer encapsulated nanoparticles

Khider, D

Rossi-Fedele, G

Zilm, P

Aust. Soc.

Endodontology

589
2016 The influence of slime/capsule on biofilm formation in response to teracycline and sodium hypochlorite by clinical isolates of Enterococcus Zilm P, Rossi-Fedele G, Kidd S, Yoo AJ, Rogers A Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 6000
2016 The influence of slime/capsule on biofilm formation in response to tetracycline and sodium hypochlorite by clinic isolates of enterococcus faecalis Rossi-Fedele G, Yoo AJ, Kidd S, Zilm P Australian Society of Endodontology Inc 5500
2016 The effect of hypo-osmotic solutions on various endodontic microbiota Naicker D, Zilm P Dentsply Research Fund 1000
2015 An evaluation of the effect of bacterial contamination on teeth stained with blood in vitro Zilm P Australian Society of Endodontology Inc 4500
2014 Cytokine profiles in serum and placenta of pregnant mice following experimentally induced periodontitis Zilm P Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 13500
2014 Investigating the transcriptome of Fusobacterium nucleatum to explain its role in periodontal disease, adverse birth outcomes and systemic health Zilm P Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 11500
2012 Assessment of the placental colonisation of Fusobacterium nucleatum following experimentally induced periodontitis in the mouse and its effect on pre-term birth Zilm P, Roberts C, Stamford JE Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 5500
2011 Characterising the effect of sodium hypochlorite on a single and mixed culture oral biofilm containing Enterococcus faecalis grown on dentine discs Zilm P, Yap B Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 5000
2010 - 2012 Generation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and their potential use in periodontal regeneration Bartold M, Gronthos S, Zilm P National Health and Medical Research Council 770000
2010 The role of S-layer protein in biofilm formation by Fusobacterium nucleatum in response to high growth Zilm P Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 5000
2010 Proteomic analysis of human mesenchymal stem cell surface proteins in using fluorescent Cye dye labelling Zilm P Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 5000
2009 Efficacy of antimicrobial treatment sequences involving sodium hypochlorite, EDTA, ledermix and calcium hydroxide against Enterococcus faecalis cultured as a biofilm on a dentine Zilm P, Pultzer B Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 4000
2009 The use of MALDI Mass Spectometry and Biotyper software to identify oral bacteria Zilm P Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 6000
2009 Investigation of the nature and expression of post-translational modifications to Hsp60 and Hsp70 in Fusobacterium nucleatum Zilm P Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 4500
2008 Efficacy of antimicrobial treatment sequences involving sodium hypochlorite, EDTA, ledermix and calcium hydroxide against Enterococcus faecalis cultured as a biofilm on a dentine substrate Zilm P Australian Society of Endodontology Inc 4000
2007 - 2009 Periodontal ligament stem cells Bartold M, Gronthos S, Zilm P National Health and Medical Research Council 594000
2007 The expression of cell envelope proteins by Fusobacterium nucleatum in response to growth pH Zilm P, Gully N Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 4000
2006 The identification of proteins whose expression is altered by growth pH in Fusobacterium nucleatum Zilm P, Gully N Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 5000
2006 A proteomatic assessment of environmental pH on Fusobacterium nucleatum biofilms Gully N, Zilm P Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 5000
2005-2006 Proteomic assessment of human, periodontal ligament Fibroblasts, Gingival Fibroblasts and Alveolar bone Osteoblasts Zilm P, Marino V Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 9000
2005 The expression of GroEL and enolase by Fusobacterium nucleatum grown in continuous culture Zilm P, Gully N Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 5000
2004 The investigation and characterisation of the co-aggregation of Fusobacterium nucleatum grown in continuous culture Zilm P Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 4000
2003 The role of intracellular polysaccharide production in biofilm formation by Fusobacterium nucleatum Zilm P, Rogers A, Dragovic R Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 4600
2003 Identification of the Osteoclastogenic Factor from Eikenella corrodens Surface-associated Material Gully N, Haynes D, Rogers A, Zilm P Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 2900
2003 Evaluating the efficacy of cleaning and sterilising procedures for endodontic instruments VanEldik D, Rogers A, Zilm P Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 2900
2002 Factors affecting the production of NADH oxidase by Fusobacterium nucleatum and its protective effect on Porphyramonas gingivalis Rogers A, Diaz P, Zilm P Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 5500
2002 The identification of stress proteins in Fusobacterium nucleatum by proteome analysis Zilm P, Rogers A Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 4400
2001 Factors affecting the production of NADH oxidase by Fusobacterium nucleatum and its protective effect on Porphyromonas gingivalis Rogers A, Diaz P, Zilm P Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. 4000

Dental Science and Practice. 1st year

Chemical reactions in living systems.

Chemical functional groups.

Structure & Function of Carbohydrates.

Structure & Function of lipids.

The Biochemistry of Soft Tissue.

Enzyme Function Control.

Enzyme Control.

pH Buffers in living systems.

Remedial chemistry

Calcium Phosphate chemistry

The chemistry of Demineralisation, and Remineralisation.

Lipid metabolism.

Dental Science and Practice 2nd year.

The Chemistry of Metals and Dentistry.

pH Buffering of Saliva.

Microbial physiology and metabolism.

Mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis.

The Chemistry of Local Anaesthetics.

Tuberculosis- physiology and pathogenicity

Tuberculosis- Treatment and Dental implications

Sterilisation and disinfection.

Dental Science and Practise 3rd year. .

Nucleotide metabolism in cancer treatment

Bachelor of Oral Health.

Acids, pH and buffering

The chemistry of Demineralisation, and Remineralisation of dentine and enamel.

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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 Principal Supervisor Disruption of sub-gingival biofilms using innovative anti-microbial compounds to prevent and treat periodontal disease Master of Philosophy (Dentistry) Master Part Time Ms Julia Kaburaki
    2018 Co-Supervisor Induction of Stable Small Colony Variants in Staphylococcus Aureus Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr James Lee
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2017 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Clinical and Microbiological Effects of Probiotics in Experimental Induced Periodontitis Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Simona Gatej
    2013 - 2015 Co-Supervisor STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS: STRESS RESPONSE AND ITS ROLES IN PATHOGENESIS Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Minh Giao Long Bui
    2012 - 2015 Co-Supervisor Efficacy of laser and ultrasonic activated irrigation on eradicating a mixed species biofilm grown in the mesial roots of human mandibular molars Doctor of Clinical Dentistry Doctorate Full Time Dr Jonathan Race
    2010 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Efficacy of Sodium Hypochlorite and Er,Cr:YSGG Laser Energised Irrigation against an Enterococcus Faecalis Biofilm Doctor of Clinical Dentistry Doctorate Full Time Dr Jonathan Christo
    2009 - 2011 Co-Supervisor Investigation of the Effect of Rapid and Slow External pH Increases on Enterococcus Faecalis Biofilm Grown on Dentine Doctor of Clinical Dentistry Doctorate Full Time Dr Mark Stenhouse
    2009 - 2011 Co-Supervisor An in-vitro Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Endodontic Irrigants, with and without Sonic and Laser Activation, in the Eradication of Enterococcus faecalis Biofilm Doctor of Clinical Dentistry Doctorate Full Time Dr Aaron Nicholas Shiao Ming Seet
    2009 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Proteomic Analysis of Enterococcus faecalis Cell Membrane Proteins under Alkaline Stress Conditions Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time APrf Peter Cathro
    2008 - 2009 Co-Supervisor Comparative Efficacy of Endodontic Medicaments against Enterococcus faecalis Biofilms Doctor of Clinical Dentistry Doctorate Full Time Miss Barbara Plutzer
    2008 - 2010 Co-Supervisor Protein Expression in Fusobacterium nucleatum ATCC 10953 Biofilm Cells Induced by an Alkaline Environment Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Jactty Chew
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  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2009 - ongoing Member Centre for Orofacial Research and Learning
    2009 - ongoing Member International Association for Dental Research
    2009 - ongoing Member Australian Society for Microbiology Australia
    2009 - ongoing Member Australian Proteomics Society Australia
    2009 - ongoing Member Adelaide Protein Group Australia
    2009 - ongoing Member Robinson Institute Australia
    2008 - ongoing Member Adelaide Centre for Stem Cell Research Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2012 - ongoing Board Member Journal of Dentistry and Clinical Research
  • Position: Senior Lecturer
  • Phone: 83135676
  • Email: peter.zilm@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Helen Mayo South, floor 10
  • Room: WS10066.02
  • Org Unit: Dental

Connect With Me
External Profiles