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School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Academic Staff

Dr David Weinkove

Contact Dr David Weinkove (email at david.weinkove@durham.ac.uk)

C. elegans research lab

We address major biological and biomedical problems using the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans as a model . The strengths of the system are that conditions can be tightly controlled and the animal is very well characterised through a concerted effort of labs around the world. Further, the short lifecycle and lifespan means that experiments can be conducted very quickly. We combine the techniques of genetics, biochemistry and microscopy to understand basic biological processes in our animal model, such as ageing and nutrition. Where possible we try to use the strengths of research in physics, chemistry and mathematics to increase our ability to understand animal biology.

Animals have co-evolved with microbes, so understanding this interaction is vital to understanding animal biology. In the lab, C. elegans is cultured with the live microbe Escherichia coli as a food source, allowing us to use C. elegans as model to understand the animal: microbe interaction. We have found that perturbing folate synthesis in E. coli increases C. elegans lifespan without slowing the growth of the bacteria or the worm. Our current hypothesis is that E. coli and other microbes synthesis more folate than they need for growth and this excess folate causes the bacteria to be detrimental to the animal. We are testing this hypothesis and exploring its relevance to mammals. Our experimental system allows us to address these questions by manipulating the growth media, E. coli and C. elegans. See interview in BMC Biology

In another project, we are using C. elegans to make proteins from parasitic nematodes that are of potential therapeutic value. The intention is to develop C. elegans as a bioprocessing platform and reduce the use of lab rodents to grow parasitic nematodes to make protein. See press release

How to pronounce Weinkove (courtesy of cousin Ben).

Current lab members (in order of appearance)

David Weinkove (follow on Twitter: @dweinkove)

Adelaide Raimundo

Bhupinder Virk

Jie Jia

Sushmita Maitra

Kasia Zmarzly

Razan Bakheet

Claire Maynard

Past lab members (other than 3rd year undergraduate project students)

Andrea Bender, Marjanne Bourgois, James Pauw, Nikolin Oberleitner, Gonçalo Correia, Natasha Chetina, Inna Feyst, Harry Blandy, Marta Cipinska, David Bradley, Shona Lee, Noel Helliwell

Research Groups

Research Interests

  • C. elegans
  • E. coli
  • Ageing
  • Host:microbe interactions
  • Genetics
  • Metabolomic and metabolic modelling approaches
  • Microbial folates
  • Microbial metabolism in nutrition
  • Phosphoinositide signalling

Publications

Journal papers: academic