Plasma Medicine

Introduction to Plasma Medicine

Plasma medicine is an emerging field that combines elements of plasma physics, biological sciences and clinical medicine to generate novel therapeutics.

Plasmas generated in air produce: 

 Charged particles:  electrons and ions
 Radicals:  eg., N, O, NO, OH, H2O2, O3
 Metastables:  eg., N2*, O2*
 Light:   IR, Visible, UV, VUV

These products can react either individually or synergistically with biological material.

Early studies indicate plasmas have potential applications in:

  •  Skin surgerySchematic of Plasma Jet
  •  Tissue disinfection
  •  Regulation of inflammatory processes
  •  Removal and sterilization of the biofilms
  •  Cosmetic re-structuring of tissue
  •  Skin rejuvenation
  •  Tooth bleaching
  •  Blood cleansing

Plasma sources:‌

Current Projects

  • Effectiveness of cell treatment by plasmas in liquid in comparison to established medical procedures
    (Mark Muir, Lucas Schaper, Fred Currell, Bill Graham)
  • Atmospheric pressure plasma interactions with plasmid DNA  
    (Deborah O’Connell, Laura Cox, Wendy Hyland, Stephen McMahon, Stephan Reuter, Bill Graham, Timo Gans, Fred Currell)

Plasma Medicine at QUB

The Plasma Medicine team at Queen’s is an interdisciplinary group led by:

Dr. Brendan Gilmore at the School of Pharmacy and

Professor Bill Graham at the School of Mathematics and Physics.

The group is focused on the optimization of a in-house built, kHz-driven plasma source for the control and prevention of hospital acquired infections, especially biofilm-mediated infections and those caused by a group of organisms termed the ESKAPE pathogens. They are particularly interested in investigating the cellular targets of plasma and in understanding its mechanism of action.




Eradication of marine biofilms by atmospheric pressure nonthermal plasma: A potential approach to control biofouling?
Alkawareek, M., Gormam, S., Graham, B. & Gilmore, B. 2014 International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation 86(A):14-18


Atmospheric pressure, nonthermal plasma inactivation of MS2 bacteriophage: effect of oxygen concentration on virucidal activity.
Alshraiedeh, N., Alkawareek, M.Y., Gorman, S. P., Graham, B. & Gilmore, B.F. 2013 Journal of Applied Microbiology 115(6):1420-1426

Potential cellular targets and antibacterial efficacy of atmospheric pressure nonthermal plasma.
Alkawareek, M. Y., Gorman, S.P., Graham, W. & Gilmore, B. F. 2013 International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 43(2):154-160


Eradication of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms by atmospheric pressure nonthermal plasma.
Alkawareek, M. Y., Algwari, Q. T., Laverty, G., Gorman, S., Graham, B. & Gilmore, B. F. 2013 PLoS ONE 7(8):1-8 e44289.

Application of atmospheric pressure nonthermal plasma for the in vitro eradication of bacterial biofilms.
Alkawareek, M. Y., Algwari, Q. T., Gorman, S., Graham, B. & Gilmore, B. F. 2012 FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology 65(2):381-384