University of Bath, Department of Biochemistry

The University of Bath is one of the leading Universities in the UK. Now 40 years old, it was conceived as a technical university specialising in science and engineering. Although relatively small, with 12,000 full time students, the University of Bath has many top rated departments including Biology & Biochemistry. Bath has a well established reputation for insect:microbe interaction studies. The department of Biology and Biochemistry has excellent facilities for insect rearing including 8 dedicated controlled environment rooms and a large staged colony of M. sexta. Moreover it has access to state of the art instrumentation including scanning confocal microscopy and all forms of electron microscopy.

Main Tasks

  • WPL for WP4 (Genome mining)
  • Participation in WP1-WP3, and WP5-WP6

Infrastructure and Research Interests

The Department of Biology & Biochemistry has recently expanded into new research laboratories, with an extensive suite of controlled temperature and humidity rooms, incubators, areas for handling class 2 pathogens and DNA sequencing equipment. In addition a new animal testing facility has also been recently constructed which will enhance the portfolio of the Department. The Department has a history of research into nematode and insect model systems which is an ideal environment well suited for WP3 of the proposed project and many experienced cell biologists and biochemists. Insect, amoeba and nematode culturing is routine. Modern dedicated tissue culture facilities are also available and in routine use. Significant work on insect immunity and biochemistry has been and continues to be conducted within the department, providing good support for the insect based RVA screening

Staff Members Involved

Dr. Nick Waterfield (WPL4) obtained his PhD (1997) at the Microbiology division of the Department of Parastiology at Cambridge Univeristy, UK. His thesis involved studying aspects of gene expression in the Gram-positive bacterium Lactococcus lactis and its bacteriophages. From 1997-1999 he worked as a postdoctoral scientist in this same department, developing a genetically inactivated toxoid for a major secreted toxin of the Gram-positive pathogen Clostridia perfringens. From 1999-2004 he worked as the head Post-doctoral scientist with Prof. R. H. ffrench-Constant. Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath. This work involved the functional genomics of the entomopathogenic bacteria Photorhabdus luminescens. During this time he made significant progress in elucidating the structure and function of a novel family of highly complex insecticidal proteins (Tc toxins) important in future crop protection efforts. From 2004 onwards he has been a Lecturer at Bath. His research now focuses on the functional genomics of an “emergent human pathogen”, Photorhabdus asymbiotica. He studies the evolution of mammalian pathogenicity and the interaction of bacterial pathogens and the innate immune systems of mammals and insects. His work now focuses upon the development and application of RVA screening for the annotation of bacterial pathogens and the development of invertebrate virulence models. He has recently received a large BBSRC grant (0.8 MGBP) for the further application of RVA to several important bacterial pathogens.

Dr. Nick Waterfield
E-Mail to Nick Waterfield