Associate Professor
Telephone: (01792) 513296
Room: Academic Office - 144
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
  • Insects as disease models (Galleria mellonella)
  • Horseshoe crab health/disease
  • Antimicrobial peptides and cryptides
  • Cellular Biology: Apoptosis and Phagocytosis


  1. Grizanova, E., Coates, C., Dubovskiy, I., Butt, T. Metarhizium brunneum infection dynamics differ at the cuticle interface of susceptible and tolerant morphs of Galleria mellonella Virulence 10 1 999 1012
  2. Davies, C., Batista, F., Malkin, S., Bevan, J., Bryan, C., Crocombe, P., Coates, C., Rowley, A. Spatial and temporal disease dynamics of the parasite Hematodinium sp. in shore crabs, Carcinus maenas Parasites & Vectors 12 1
  3. Costa-Paiva, E., Coates, C. Recent insights into the diversity and evolution of invertebrate hemerythrins and extracellular globins (Ed.), Vertebrate and Invertebrate Respiratory Proteins, Lipoproteins and other Body Fluid Proteins Springer
  4. Coates, C., Costa-Paiva, E. Multifunctional Roles of Hemocyanins (Ed.), Vertebrate and Invertebrate Respiratory Proteins, Lipoproteins and other Body Fluid Proteins Springer
  5. Emery, H., Johnston, R., Rowley, A., Coates, C. Indomethacin-induced gut damage in a surrogate insect model, Galleria mellonella Archives of Toxicology 93 8 2347 2360

See more...


  • BIO104 Cellular & Microbial Biology

    This module provides a broad introduction to fundamental concepts in cell biology, including the biochemistry and structure of the cell, cell diversity and the organization of cells into tissues. Life is more abundant than what we can see with our eyes. Plants, animals and humans are a small minority among living organisms because there is no niche on earth which is not colonized by microbes (i.e., archaea, bacteria, fungi, protists, and viruses). As part of this module, you will learn that microbes were the first form of life on earth, support all kinds of life, and play a vital role in shaping the planet. 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]


  • The Basic biology and biotechnology applications of the photosynthetic flatworm Symsagittifera roscoffensis (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Kam Tang
  • Anti-viral immune pathways in the insect disease model, Galleria mellonella. (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Chris Cunningham
  • Prospecting the insect model, Galleria mellonella, for gut-related pathobiology (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Tariq Butt
  • Disease survey of commercially important blue mussels from Swansea Bay (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Andrew Rowley
  • Immunobiology of Crepidula fornicata and its potential as a resevoir of infectious disease (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Andrew Rowley
  • Bacterial communities associated with cultivating Chlorella vulgaris: (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof Carole Llewellyn
  • A novel approach to native oyster production and associated ecosystem services (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Dr Ed Pope
  • Parasites of the Common Shore Crab (Carcinus maenas) (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Prof Andrew Rowley
  • 'Assessing the effects of a viral mimic Poly (I:C) on insect (Galleria mellonella) innate immunity' (awarded 2018)

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

    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)
Dr Wananit (May) Wimuttisuk, BIOTEC (Thailand)
Dr Anastasia Komarova, Institut Pasteur (France)
Dr Jenson Lim, University of Stirling (Scotland UK)