Dr Miranda Walker (Nee Whitten)

I aim to improve people's health and livelihoods by developing novel, safe insect pest control technologies. I focus on insects that transmit disease (particularly neglected tropical diseases) and agricultural pests. I am a medical & molecular entomologist with overlapping collaborative interests in host-parasite / host-bacterial interactions, bacterial symbionts of insects, RNA interference, parasitology, innate immunology, molecular microbiology and the exploitation of microbes and insects to support medical advances and food security.

I am a lecturer in the Institute of Life Science in the Medical School, and coordinate teaching modules in infectious disease, parasitology and genetic analysis.
I am a 2015 Welsh Cruciblee. My work is applied and inter-disciplinary, and I welcome new collaborations including those with social scientists, climate modellers, lighting engineers and ecologists.

Areas of Expertise

  • entomology
  • molecular biology
  • medical entomology
  • innate immunity
  • biocontrol
  • invertebrate microbiology

Publications

  1. & Symbiont-mediated RNA interference in insects. Proceedings of the Royal Society B
  2. & Fungal infection dynamics in response to temperature in the lepidopteran insect Galleria mellonella. Insect Science
  3. & Gene silencing in non-model insects: Overcoming hurdles using symbiotic bacteria for trauma-free sustainable delivery of RNA interference. BioEssays 39(3), 1600247
  4. & Re-evaluation of insect melanogenesis research: Views from the dark side. Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research 30(4), 386-401.
  5. & Can Insects Develop Resistance to Insect Pathogenic Fungi?. PLoS ONE 8(4)
  6. & Immuno-physiological adaptations confer wax mothGalleria mellonellaresistance toBacillus thuringiensis. Virulence, 1-11.
  7. & Cuticles of European and American lobsters harbor diverse bacterial species and differ in disease susceptibility. MicrobiologyOpen 3(3), 395-409.
  8. Facey PD, Méric G, Hitchings MD, Pachebat JA, Hegarty MJ, Chen X, Morgan L, Hoeppner JE, Whitten M, Kirk W, Dyson PJ, Sheppard SK, Del Sol R Draft Genomes, Phylogenetic Reconstruction, and Comparative Genomics of Two Novel Cohabiting Bacterial Symbionts Isolated fromFrankliniella occidentalis. Genome Biology and Evolution 7(8), 2188-2202.
  9. Whitten, M.M.A., Ratcliffe, N.A. In vitro superoxide activity in the haemolymph of the West Indian leaf cockroach, Blaberus discoidalis. Journal of Insect Physiology 45(7), 667-675.
  10. & Contributions of cellular and humoral immunity of Galleria mellonella larvae in defence against oral infection by Bacillus thuringiensis. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 119, 40-46.

See more...

Teaching

  • PM-120 Genetic Analysis I

    This module will give assignments designed to develop skills in essay writing and oral presentations. It will also look at the principles and practice of internet searching for scientific sources.

  • PM-250 Infectious Disease and Parasitology

    The course will build on the fundamentals of microbiology and introduce new topics in bacteriology, mycology and parasitology. Level 5 Immunology (PM-249) is a pre-requisite. The course covers the fundamentals of infectious diseases, including clinical aspects, treatment / prevention, and experimental approaches to the study of infectious and parasitic organisms. The course will also cover topics including disease outbreaks, beneficial parasites, tropical disease and behaviour-modifying parasites.

  • PM-304 Biomolecular Research Project

    *

  • PM-315 Genetic Analysis III

    The module aims to develop the student¿s ability to critically analyse and synthesise advanced research topics in genetics and molecular biology, and their oral and written scientific presentation skills.

Supervision

  • Post Transcriptional gene silencing of Trypanosoma brucei procyclic trypomastigotes using dsRNA expressing Sodalis glossiniduis. (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Prof Paul Dyson
    Other supervisor: Dr Miranda Walker (Nee Whitten)

Research Groups

  • Microbes & Immunity

    My research is part of Swansea University School of Medicine's Microbes and Immunity theme. I am also coordinator of the Microbes & Immunity Seminar Series. Please contact me (m.m.a.whitten@swansea.ac.uk) if you have a suggestion for a seminar.

  • Applied Molecular Microbiology Group

    I am a member of the academic and research staff contributing to the Applied Molecular Microbiology Group in Swansea University's Medical School. My speciality is in the manipulation of insect symbionts with a view to reducing the transmission of insect-vectored diseases, and controlling agricultural insect pests.

Research as Art - winning images

New Tools from Insect Poo

 

 

 

 

 

New Tools from Insect Poo (2013)

read the story here: 

http://www.livescience.com/37654-3d-printed-toy-photo-contest.html

The Mosquito Inkblot Test

 

 

 

The Mosquito Inkblot Test (2015)

Read about the Swansea University's Research as Art competition, and more about this image at:

http://www.swansea.ac.uk/research/surf/art-competition/