Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology

Staff Profile

Dr Kevin Waldron

Principal Research Fellow

Background

Principal Research Fellow, Institute for Cell & Molecular Biosciences (2018-Present).

Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow, Newcastle University (2013-8).

Faculty Fellow, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University (2010-2013).

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Arturo Leone Young Investigator prize winner 2018.

Guest Professor:- Nanjing Agricultural University, People's Republic of China (2019-Present).

Research

Our research is focused on the role of essential metal ions in pathogenic bacteria and at the host-pathogen interface. Restriction of a pathogen's access to d-block metals, which are essential micronutrients, is an important mechanism by which the immune system controls the proliferation of invading pathogenic microorganisms, known as 'nutritional immunity'. Some metals, such as copper and zinc, can also be extremely toxic to bacteria in excess, and this metal toxicity can also be exploited by the immune system to kill pathogens. Copper alloys and salts have a long history of use by man as agrochemical fungicides, and silver salts and nanoparticles are increasingly used as antibacterial treatments. Such strategies are likely to gain importance as antibiotic resistance determinants become more widespread among human pathogens.

We use a range of biochemical and biophysical approaches to investigate the mechanisms by which metal depletion or excess give rise to bacterial growth inhibition and death. Such knowledge could in future be exploited by combining non-native metal toxicity with synthetic metal chelators, specific for essential metal ions. Such treatments are likely to be broad-spectrum, due to the essential nature of these metal ions for all life forms. By understanding processes of metal homeostasis in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, we can define the likely benefits of such therapeutic strategies.

Teaching

Medical Sciences MRes Programmes, Administration Team member.

Lecturer: UG Biochemistry, MRes (Molecular Microbiology, Research Methods in Protein Science).

Publications