Senior Lecturer
Biosciences
Telephone: (01792) 513296
Room: Academic Office - 133
First Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus

I am a comparative immunologist engaged in research focussed on unravelling the biological mechanisms that enable invertebrates (e.g. crustaceans and insects) to combat pathogenic assault and survive environmental trauma. Current interests include:

  • The roles of oxygen transport/binding proteins in innate immunity (haemocyanin and phenoloxidase)
  • Health status indicators of commercially important shellfish pre-mortem (e.g. Limulus polyphemus), and food quality issues post-mortem (e.g. Nephrops norvegicus) 
  • Developing insect larvae (Galleria mellonella) as an alternative in vivo model system to reduce the need for murine and simian experimentation

I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Areas of Expertise

  • Invertebrate immunology
  • Haemocyanins & Phenoloxidases (tyrosinase; catecholoxidase; laccase)
  • Melanin synthesis and Hyperpigmentation
  • Horseshoe crab health/disease
  • Antimicrobial peptides and cryptides
  • Cellular Biology: Apoptosis and Phagocytosis

Publications

  1. & Discovery of novel hemocyanin-like genes in Metazoans. The Biological Bulletin
  2. & Hemocyanin-derived phenoloxidase reaction products display anti-infective properties. Developmental & Comparative Immunology 86, 47-51.
  3. & Characterizing the Mechanisms of Nonopsonic Uptake of Cryptococci by Macrophages. The Journal of Immunology 200(10), 3539-3546.
  4. & Echinochrome A Release by Red Spherule Cells Is an Iron-Withholding Strategy of Sea Urchin Innate Immunity. Journal of Innate Immunity 10(2), 119-130.
  5. & A denitrifying community associated with a major, marine nitrogen fixer. Environmental Microbiology 19, 4978-4992.

See more...

Teaching

  • BIO104 Cellular & Microbial Biology

    This module will provide a broad introduction to fundamental concepts in cell biology, including the biochemistry and structure of the cell, cell diversity (including microbes), and the organization of cells into tissues. Students will gain practical experience in handling and culturing microorganisms, microscopy and spectroscopy.

  • BIO108 Molecular and Evolutionary Biology

    ¿Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution¿ was the title of a 1973 essay by the evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky. The module links fundamental understanding of molecular processes in the cell to principles of genetics and inheritance to a broader appreciation of evolution and how it shapes the natural world around us.

  • BIO340 Professional Laboratory Skills

    Professional Laboratory Skills is a module that provides students with the opportunity to gain practical experience of fundamental and advanced laboratory techniques in the broad area of biomolecular sciences. BIO340 consists of four intense laboratory sessions: two conducted in the wet-lab and two conducted in the computer lab. This blend of in vitro and in silico experimentation reflects the skills needed by modern biology graduates. Each session will have a theme: (1) protein biochemistry, (2) in silico structural manipulations, (3) PCR-techniques and gel electrophoresis, (4) Bioinformatics. Students will examine the structure-function relationship of a conserved, yet functionally diverse, family of proteins. Such proteins are found in plants, animals (including invertebrates) and microorganisms. [It should be noted that this module runs out of term time (usually early September), in a similar manner to residential field courses]

Supervision

  • A novel approach to the reintroduction of the flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Ed Pope
  • Immunobiology of Crepidula fornicata and its potential as a harbourer of infectious disease (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Andrew Rowley
  • The pathogens and parasites of the common shore crab, Carcinus maenas (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Andrew Rowley
  • Interrogating the potential immune-modulating properties of Cordyceps sinensis (caterpillar mushroom) using the insect model, Galleria mellonella, for gut-related pathobiology (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Tariq Butt
  • 'Assessing the effects of a viral mimic Poly (I:C) on insect (Galleria mellonella) innate immunity' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Catherine Thornton
  • 'Determining the bioenergetic capacity of insect (Galleria mellonella) haemocytes' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Prof Catherine Thornton

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Health and Safety Officer - Department of Biosciences, Swansea University

    2016 - Present

  • Deputy Biological Hazards Officer - Swansea University

    2016 - Present

  • Head of Laboratory - Comparative Immunology and Aquatic Pathobiology

    2015 - Present

  • Lead Academic - Royal Society of Biology Degree Accreditation

    2015 - 2017

Key Grants and Projects

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
January 2017 Present Senior Lecturer Swansea University
April 2015 December 2016 Lecturer Swansea University
February 2014 April 2015 PDRA, Molecular Microbiology University of Stirling

Collaborative Partners

Partner Name Description
Dr Amaya Albalat, University of Stirling (Scotland UK) https://www.stir.ac.uk/people/22473
Dr Wananit (May) Wimuttisuk, BIOTEC (Thailand) https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Wananit_Wimuttisuk
Dr Anastasia Komarova, Institut Pasteur (France) https://research.pasteur.fr/en/member/anastasia-komarova/
Dr Jenson Lim, University of Stirling (Scotland UK) https://www.stir.ac.uk/people/27463