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Department of Biosciences

Academic Staff

Dr David Weinkove

Associate Professor in the Department of Biosciences

Contact Dr David Weinkove (email at

C. elegans research lab

The Worm

We conduct experiments on the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. This system provides controlled conditions and large numbers of animals to understand basic biological processes using genetics, biochemistry and microscopy. 

Bacteria and Ageing

Animals have co-evolved with microbes, so understanding these interactions is vital to understanding animal biology.

In the lab, C. elegans is cultured with the live bacteria Escherichia coli as a food source. We study both E. coli and C. elegans to understand this animal: microbe interaction.

Inhibiting folate synthesis in E. coli slows ageing in C. elegans without slowing the growth of the bacteria or the worm. E. coli synthesises more folate than it needs for growth and we think that this excess folate causes the bacteria to be detrimental to the animal.

We are testing this hypothesis and exploring its relevance to mammals and their gut microbiota.

Making recombinant proteins

In another project, we are using C. elegans to make proteins from parasitic nematodes that could be used to treat diseases of the immune system such as asthma or rheumatoid arthritis. The intention is to use C. elegans for bioprocessing and reduce the use of lab rodents. See video 

Current lab members (in order of appearance)

David Weinkove (Twitter: @dweinkove, appearance at Bright Club NEHow to pronounce Weinkove (courtesy of cousin Ben))

Adelaide Raimundo

Sushmita Maitra

Kasia Zmarzly

Claire Maynard

Craig Manning

Zoe Walmsley

Jim Groombridge

Fiona Hair

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, Jie JiaRazan Bakheet, Daniel Weintraub, Bhupinder Virk, Lucy Lancaster

Research Groups

  • Animal Cells and Systems
  • Durham Centre for Bioimaging Technology

Research Interests

  • C. elegans
  • E. coli
  • Ageing
  • Host:microbe interactions
  • Microbial folates


Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article