Dr Robert Hammond appointed as Lecturer
Dr Robert Hammond, who began his academic career in the medical school in 2012 as a PhD student under the supervision of Professor Stephen Gillespie, has been appointed as Lecturer. Dr Hammond, an Accredited Biomedical Scientist with a particular interest in microbiology, has an active research portfolio spanning the fields of Novel Diagnostics, Mycobacterial research, Antimicrobial Resistance and Covid-19.
Following his PhD, Dr Hammond began a postdoctoral fellowship in 2016 in the Infection and Global Health Division. In the same year, his research group won a Longitude Prize Discovery Award. Dr Hammond’s research is underpinned by a commercial venture based around his development of the Scattered Light Integrated Collector (SLIC) and in 2018, along with colleagues, he launched a successful start-up company to commercialise SLIC. SLIC can transform the way in which antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) is carried out. Due to SLIC’s sensitivity, tiny changes in microbial population can be detected. Where current photonic technology has a limit of detection (LoD) around 10,000 microbial cells in 1 millilitre of liquid, SLIC’s LoD is 25 cells/mL. This translates to rapid detection of population change, either expansion or decline. The capacity to detect antimicrobial resistance in real time and return a result in under 30 minutes changes the face of microbiological health care. Where previously a result might be returned in 24-48 hours, SLIC can deliver a comprehensive result to the clinician and patient in under 1 hour, improving the potential identification for critical medical intervention. In recognition of this exciting scientific development, Dr Hammond was awarded the Scottish Life Science Innovation of the Year Award in 2018.
Dr Hammond credits much of his success to his time in St Andrews, attributing Prof Gillespie as an incredible mentor, as well as Professor Matt Holden and Professor Rebecca Goss, who have championed his research. Dr Hammond spoke of the interdisciplinarity across the university and stated: “I am very happy to be continuing my career in St Andrews – it’s a great place to work and it’s easy to work across schools and to make networks.”
Dr Hammond will be teaching on the subject of antibiotics, their interactions with the body and their ability to clear an infection. He also runs practical classes on contact tracing and epidemiology and on infections of the urinary tract.