University of Exeter, Molecular Biology

The University of Exeter is now based on two campuses. The first in the County of Devon (Streatham Campus) is the historical centre of the university and hosts the head of the school of Biological Sciences, Prof. Nick Talbot. The School has a central expertise in Molecular Microbiology and can thus provide a wide range of resources to this project from state of the art microscopy and imaging to a range of pathogens to test. Critically the Streatham campus also has Category 3 pathogen handling facilities, for more dangerous pathogens such as E. coli O157. Prof. ffrench-Constant is based at the second, new campus in Penryn, Cornwall (Tremough Campus). This campus is a flag-ship for the use of Objective 1 Convergence funding and has grown exponentially since its first intake of Biology students 3 years ago. Prof. ffrench-Constant’s laboratory is equipped with state of the art microscopy and high-throughput sequencing technologies central to this proposal. This year the campus is expanding by starting new degrees in History, Politics and Law.

Main Tasks

  • WPL for WP3 (Bioactivity testing)
  • Participation in WP1, WP2, WP4-WP6

Infrastructure and Research Interests

Prof. ffrench-Constant’s group consists of 5 staff, four postdoctoral and one PhD student. Three of the postdoctoral fellows are molecular microbiologists (Dr’s Dowling, Hares and Hinchcliffe) all with direct experience of working on bacterial pathogens. The ffrench-Constant laboratory is well equipped with both machinery for molecular microbiology and also mammalian tissue culture work. ffrench-constant is interested in bacterial virulence and specifically in how pathogens that are adapted to kill insects can become pathogens of man. He is interested in bacterial genomics and in the rapid screening of bacterial genomes to indentify novel virulence factors. The University of Exeter has recently acquired a ‘Solexa’ based highthroughput gene sequencer which will facilitate the comparative sequencing required for the Genome Mining aspect of the proposed project.

Staff Members Involved

Prof. Dr. Richard ffrench-Constant (WPL3) is Chair of Molecular Biology at the University of Exeter in Cornwall. He has over 20 years experience in Molecular Microbiology and has published over 150 refereed papers. Prof. ffrench-Constant did his PhD at Imperial College London followed by two postdoctoral fellowships. The first at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the second at Cornell in the USA. He then went on to get tenure at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an Associate Professor before returning to a Chair in Molecular Biology at the University of Bath in 2000. He is now Chair of Molecular Biology in the School of Biosciences at the University of Exeter.

Prof. Dr. Richard ffrench-Constant
E-Mail to Richard ffrench-Constant