Anthony Hilton

Professor, PVC & Executive Dean College of Health and Life Sciences

    • United Kingdom

    Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    Enquiries welcomed in areas of Applied Microbiology particularly food, water, clinical and environmental microbiology.

    Personal profile


    A senior academic microbiologist with a proven track record of executive leadership, inspiring the development and delivery of high-quality education, research and engagement activities for the benefit of students, healthcare, industry and the wider community.  An ambitious senior leader with extensive experience of large-scale budget management, developing vision and strategy, and working with multidisciplinary groups in higher education, industry and healthcare to implement operational plans and practices. Collaborative, supportive and a valuer of people, able to bring individuals together to achieve outcomes and deliver results.  A passionate, award-winning educator and science communicator.

    Where time and circumstances allow I prefer an inclusive and consultative approach to leadership, leveraging benefit from my ability to communicate and work well with others.  I quickly build trust, drive collaboration, gain the respect of my colleagues and show respect and humility for others.  I am committed to high levels of professionalism and development of talent in members of my team.  Leading by example and executing delivery.  Recognised as a highly resilient individual I have consistently demonstrated my ability to lead during challenging periods of uncertainty and ambiguity.


    2021 - PVC & Executuve Dean of the College of Health & Life Sciences

    2019 - Interim PVC & Executuve Dean of the College of Health & Life Sciences

    2016 - Deputy Dean of School of Life & Health Sciences

    2012 - Professor of Applied Microbiology

    2009 - 2012 Reader in Microbiology / Head of Biology & Biomedical Science  Aston University
    2005 - 2009  Senior Lecturer in Microbiology / Programme Director - Biology / BMS  Aston University
    2000 - 2005 Lecturer in Microbiology / Biology Admissions Tutor, Aston University
    1997 - 2000 Lecturer in Food Microbiology, University of Birmingham
    1996 - 1997 Clinical Scientist, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital
    1993 - 1996 PhD, University of Birmingham (Supervisor: Prof. C.W. Penn)
    1989 - 1993 BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (Class I; Rank 1st) University of Wolverhampton


    2016     Aston University Chancellors Medal

    2016     50th Anniversary Professor of Applied Microbiology

    2014     Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

    2012     Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology

    2012     Fellow of the Institute of Biomedical Science

    2011     National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

    2011     Society for General Microbiology – Peter Wildy Award for Microbiology Education

    2010     Aston University Excellence Award – Outstanding contribution to community engagement

    2009     Institute of Biomedical Sciences – Vincent Marks Prize Lecture for Microbiology

    2009     Society for Applied Microbiology – Award for Public Engagement in Microbiology

    2006     Life & Health Sciences award for teaching excellence

    Research Interests

    Throughout my research career, spanning over 25 years, I have maintained a strong interest in the applied aspects of microbiology, driven by the challenge of finding innovative practical answers to real microbiological problems in industry, clinical, veterinary and environmental settings where detailed knowledge of bacterial strains is essential. My research is primarily directed towards the application of molecular biology techniques to the characterisation and investigation of bacterial pathogens, exploiting recent advances in whole genome sequencing to enable the simultaneous profiling of complex communities of bacteria.  My work is multidisciplinary and collaborative with clinical, veterinary, industry and academic partners both nationally and internationally.


    Supporting my research is a sustained track-record of grant income from research council, charity and industry sources. 

    • Applied microbiology
      • Food
      • Clinical
      • Environmental
    • Molecular microbiology
    • Salmonella, Campylobacter, MRSA and Escherichia coli O157, Clostridium difficile
    • Molecular epidemiology & typing of microorganisms
    • Insect vectors of disease
    • Microbiome and cultureome analysis

    Teaching Activity

    I have developed and taught educational programmes at all levels including internationally for students and non-science specialists.  Engaging with these diverse groups requires an understanding of their individual learning needs and adoption of appropriate teaching methods to communicate effectively.  Outside of classroom teaching I have innovated such novel delivery methods as scientific narration of public plays, interactive scientific cooking & dining experiences, mobile laboratories in primary and secondary schools and numerous public events.  Facilitated by my imaginative delivery, organisation and presentation of learning resources, I have created a range of learning opportunities which accommodate a variety of recognised learning styles and strategies. 


    Within HE, I have led programme development at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level and developed collaborative programmes with international colleagues.  Drawing upon my pedagogical research and consideration of student needs, I pioneered audio and video student feedback resources. I have published articles and a student textbook to support learning and teaching in aspects of microbiology and statistical analysis.  My contribution to microbiology education has been recognised by various prestigious teaching awards, grant income and professional recognition.  Most notably I was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship of AdvanceHE which recognises individuals who have made an outstanding impact on student outcomes and the teaching profession in higher education.

    Media Contributions

    I have established and maintain a significant external professional profile through my work with the print and broadcast media, and I am regularly invited to contribute to major science communication events including the British and Cheltenham Science Festivals, Big Bang and Einstein’s Garden at the Green Man Festival.  I have presented several television series including Grime Scene Investigation and feature specials on microbiology for The One Show and Newsround.  I am frequently invited to speak at national and international scientific meetings to share my expertise in science communication and have contributed to popular science texts.


    Funded by the Wellcome Trust, I developed and delivered an outreach programme for schools called ‘The World of Microbiology’.  The project involved taking all the necessary teaching equipment and materials to the school in a mobile laboratory; a concept I adopted from the Grime Scene Investigation series.  The project focused on raising awareness of important microbiological issues such as sexually transmitted and foodborne infections along with practical interventions. I further developed the programme with continuation funding from the Society for Applied Microbiology into a national outreach resource.  For five consecutive years I delivered the microbiology roadshow in Africa, to schools in Nairobi and Tanzania.


    For promoting the public understanding of microbiology I have been awarded several grants and awards including The Society for Applied Microbiology Science Communication Award, The Peter Wildy Award for Microbiology Education and Outreach (Society for General Microbiology) and the Vincent Marks Award (IBMS).


    An increasing number of litigated personal injury claims in the UK involve microbiology information that would benefit from expert critical review, interpretation or further development.  I am able to offer expert professional advice in all aspects of microbiology to assist in developing a robust body of evidence to support these cases.  With over 25 years experience in microbiological aspects of food, industrial and clinical microbiology, I have been offering professional microbiology advice to the legal sector for over ten years primarily in cases of personal injury, industrial liability, clinical negligence and malpractice.  For further information please contact me to discuss your requirements.

    Contact Details

    Phone:  +44 (0)1212043960
    Mobile: 07703 716512

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

    Education/Academic qualification

    PG Cert, Learning & Teaching in HE

    Award Date: 6 Jun 2003

    Advance HE Top Management Programme, Advance HE

    National Teaching Fellow, Advance HE

    Fellow of Institute of Biomedical Science, Institute of Biomedical Science

    Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, Royal Society of Biology

    External positions

    Trustee of the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene

    1 Jan 2021 → …

    Director, Microbiology Consulting Ltd

    Member of Council of Deans of Health


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