Faculty of Medical Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Kevin Waldron
Dr Kevin Waldron, Henry Dale Fellow

  • Wellcome Trust and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellowship
  • Email: kevin.waldron@ncl.ac.uk
  • Telephone: 0191 208 7369

My research aims to understand the diverse roles of metals and metalloproteins in biological systems. It's estimated that approximately one-third of all proteins require one or more metal ions to function properly, and most proteins are inactive when they're wrongly associated with a different metal cofactor. It's unclear how each protein ensures that it acquires the correct, required metal, and how it excludes all of the other biological metal ions present in the cell. Every living cell possesses a complex metal homeostasis machinery, which controls the uptake of essential metals, effluxes excess metal ions, and ensures correct delivery of metal cofactors to nascent metalloproteins.

After completing a project as a postdoctoral research associate in the lab of Prof. Nigel Robinson (now at Durham), I was awarded a Faculty Fellowship in 2009/2010 to set up my independent laboratory in Newcastle. This allowed me to begin my first independent research project and begin to collect the required preliminary data and build important collaborations to apply for external fellowship funding, which I successfully obtained in 2012. Since acquiring my external fellowship funding, I have grown my lab and branched out my research in new directions.

My current research, funded by a Wellcome Trust and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellowship, is focused primarily on the copper homeostasis system of the Gram positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. This organism has become infamous in recent years due to the spread of antibiotic resistant forms, particularly methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA), which causes great problems in healthcare environments. Copper is an effective antimicrobial capable of killing a wide range of pathogens including MRSA, making it an appealing material for use in healthcare environments to reduce the transmission of bacteria. Our research aims to understand the mechanisms by which microorganisms such as S. aureus resist high levels of dissolved copper ions in their environment, and to uncover the underlying molecular mechanisms by which excess copper kills these bacteria.