Dr Christopher Coates

Associate Professor, Biosciences

Telephone number

+44 (0) 1792 513296

Email address

Research Links

Academic Office - 144
First Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus
Available For Postgraduate Supervision


Dr Christopher J. Coates is an Associate Professor in Comparative Immunology at Swansea University specialising in shellfish health and disease, insects as toxicology models, and the roles of oxygen binding/transport proteins in innate immunity.

Christopher is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and was delighted to lead the Academic Team (2015 – 2017) within the Department of Biosciences to secure unconditional accreditation for all listed undergraduate (BSc) programmes. Christopher is an elected member of Swansea University’s Senate, Health and Safety Lead for Biosciences, and Biological & GM Safety Officer for Science.

Outside of the University, Christopher is an elected member of the Royal Society of Biology and International Society of Developmental and Comparative Immunology, and Editorial Board member of the MDPI journal Pathogens.

Areas Of Expertise

  • Invertebrate Immunology and Haematology
  • Protein Structure, Function and Diversity (e.g., hemocyanins and phenoloxidases)
  • Aquaculture and (Shell) Fisheries
  • Alternative disease models

Career Highlights

Teaching Interests

Christopher’s teaching approach focusses on equipping biology students with key laboratory skills across all levels. As Module Coordinator for BIO104 Cellular and Microbial Biology, Christopher refreshed the delivery profile with more emphasis on ‘scale’ as a key threshold concept within biology, e.g., from macromolecules – cells – tissues. At level 3, Christopher designed and implemented an intensive Professional Laboratory Skills course (BIO340) that provides students with the diverse skills and experience expected of modern science graduates.

Additionally, Christopher is a contributor to Molecular and Evolutionary Biology (BIO108), and acts as Deputy Module Coordinator for Cells and Immunity (BIO236), and Diseases of Aquatic Animals (BIO313) since 2015.


The over-arching aim of my research is to understand what makes the ancient innate immune systems of invertebrates unique and effective, i.e., how do they defend themselves from disease-causing agents.

To achieve this, my collaborators and I, conduct fundamental and applied research on a diverse range of species, including those of high commercial value, e.g., horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus). Our experimental approach uses biochemical and cellular measures of blood (e.g., haemolymph), molecular-based methods, microscopy, microbiology, bioinformatics, and contemporary OMICS platforms.

Active projects:

  • Shore crabs (Carcinus maenas) and slipper limpets (Crepidula fornicata)as reservoirs of disease
  • Gut pathobiology and innate immunity of Galleria mellonella
  • Phylogeny and functionality of oxygen-transport/binding proteins
Award Highlights

Christopher has received travel and presentation awards from the Biochemical Society and the International Society of Developmental and Comparative Immunology, travel fellowships from the Newton Fund (Thailand) and Santander Staff Mobility Fund (Swansea University), an innovation voucher from the Scottish Funding Council, and a Texas International Strategic Partnership Award (Swansea University).  


Dr Amaya Albalat, University of Stirling

Dr Christopher Cunningham, Swansea University

Dr Elisa Costa-Paiva, Universidade de Sao Paula

Dr Anne-Marie Krachler, McGovern Medical School

Dr Jenson Lim, University of Stirling

Prof Andrew Rowley, Swansea University

Prof Cathy Thornton, Swansea University