Professor Dan Eastwood
Professor
Biosciences
Telephone: (01792) 513003
Email: JavaScript is required to view this email address.
Room: Academic Office - 102
First Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus

I am interested in understanding how higher fungi grow, exploit resources in their environment and make mushrooms. I mainly employ molecular tools (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics) in my research combined with traditional microbiological and biochemical analysis.

I have been involved in many genome research programmes of saprotrophic wood decay fungi working closely with the Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, California, and led the dry rot fungus (Serpula lacrymans) sequencing project. The main findings have focused on the evolution of wood decay mechanisms, particularly the convergent evolution of the brown rot decay mode.

My current research uses genome sequenced saprotrophs to study the interaction between competing fungi during wood decay, considering the succession from primary through to tertiary decomposers and how environmental change might affect these processes.

I have worked extensively with the cultivated button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, investigating mushroom development in response to environmental triggers, regulation of postharvest quality, flavour development and controlling mushroom virus X disease. I built on this expertise to assess the potential of wood decay fungi in a novel low input biorefinery model to generate high value chemical products from lignin decomposition.

I also supervise research students investigating the control of invasive plants, particularly Japanese knotweed, and the interaction between rare sand dune-inhabiting orchid species and rhizosphere microorganisms. Since joining Swansea University, I have enjoyed working with colleagues on diverse projects from the mechanisms of killing by entomopathogenic fungi, fish transcriptomics and diseases of crustaceans.

Areas of Expertise

  • Fungal Biology
  • Genomics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Transcriptomics
  • Agaricus bisporus
  • Serpula lacrymans
  • Wood decomposition
  • Biofuels and biorefineries

Publications

  1. & A comparison of ergosterol and PLFA methods for monitoring the growth of ligninolytic fungi during wheat straw solid state cultivation. Journal of Microbiological Methods 148, 49-54.
  2. & Emergent properties arising from spatial heterogeneity influence fungal community dynamics. Fungal Ecology 33, 32-39.
  3. & Optimising physiochemical control of invasive Japanese knotweed. Biological Invasions
  4. & Interdependence of Primary Metabolism and Xenobiotic Mitigation Characterizes the Proteome of Bjerkandera adusta during Wood Decomposition. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 84(2), e01401-17
  5. & The fungus that came in from the cold: dry rot’s pre-adapted ability to invade buildings. The ISME Journal

See more...

Teaching

  • BIO235 Molecular Ecology

    Molecular ecology is an emerging field that takes advantage of the latest advances in molecular genetics to answer a varied range of theoretical and practical questions in ecology including conservation genetics, behavioural ecology, phylogeography, adaptation, hybridization and speciation. Through a combination of theoretical lectures, laboratory practicals and class discussions we will consider the application of a range of molecular and statistical tools to problems such as species conservation, biological invasions, wildlife forensics or fisheries. Lectures include a basic introduction to the field of Molecular Ecology and its connections to Conservation Biology and Population Genetics. This will be followed by lectures on population diversity focused on: molecular markers and genetic variation in natural populations, phylogeography and barcoding, population structuring and differentiation, mating systems, behavioural ecology and inbreeding. A more applied part of the programme will include lectures on microbial ecology, forensic science and conservation applications. Two practical lectures will cover the use of barcoding for species identification, including DNA extraction, amplification and sequencing (laboratory based) and the identification of there sequences using databases such as Genbank (computer based).

  • BIO239 Ecological Microbiology and the Cycles of Life

    This module provides an introduction into how microbes impact the world we see around us. Lectures and laboratory-based practicals will explore how microbes occupy almost every environment on the planet and drive the elemental cycles (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous) on which all life relies. Lectures will cover microbial diversity and adaptations to extreme environments, elemental cycling in terrestrial and aquatic systems, and interactions with plants and animals. Practicals will develop this learning to investigate specific ecological examples of dynamic microbial communities.

  • 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]

  • PTB103 Invasive Plants: Identification, Ecology and Control

    Invasive plants, such as Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and Parrot's feather, can have serious economic and environmental consequences. This course will teach the professional learner how to identify common invasive plant species found in Wales. The syllabus will cover the ecology of invasive plant species and will provide up-to-date information on current legislation and control/management strategies for these species. This course provides practical training, through a combination of e-learning, face-to-face teaching, hands-on participation (laboratory work and fieldwork) and reading.

Supervision

  • Comparative analysis of Ixodes ricinus chemosensory receptors (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Almudena Ortiz-Urquiza
  • Community ecology and interspecific competitive interactions of wood primary wood decay fungi (current)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Dr Mike Fowler
  • Enhancing Japanese knotweed control and long-term site restoration post-treatment (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Iain Robertson
  • Micro RNA-mediated epigenetic regulation of fungal pathology of insect hosts. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Tariq Butt
  • Impact of aquatic invasive species (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Sofia Consuegra Del Olmo
    Other supervisor: Prof Carlos Garcia De Leaniz
  • Function and form of pioneer wood decay comunities associated with European beech (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Mike Fowler
  • Relative roles of genetic and epigenetic variation on the ecology and evolution of mangrove killifishes (Kryptolebias spp.) (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Carlos Garcia De Leaniz
    Other supervisor: Prof Sofia Consuegra Del Olmo
  • ''Assessment of dune slack mycorrhizal fungi associated with Liparis loeselii (Fen orchid) to aid conservation'' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    MRes
    Other supervisor: Mrs Suzy Moody
  • 'Whose wood is it anyway? Interspecific interactions between saprotrophic Agaricomycetes and the impact on wood decomposition' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Ed Dudley
  • Bioactive volatile and secretory metabolites of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Tariq Butt

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Programme Director - Department of Biosciences

    2013 - Present

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2012 Present Senior lecturer Swansea University
2011 2012 Lead Tutor APT Bioscience Swansea University
2008 2011 Senior research fellow University of Warwick
2004 2008 Postdoctoral research fellow University of Warwick
1998 2003 Postdoctoral research fellow at Horticulture Research Int. Wellesbourne, Warwickshire
1993 1997 Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology University of Liverpool
1991 1993 First Class B.Sc. (Hons.) Microbiology University of Liverpool