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Why Nematodes?

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is the best-characterised multicellular eukaryote. Its entire genome is known and the morphology, development and function of each cell lineage mapped in exquisite detail. It offers multiple advantages over other genetic model organisms as it can be grown and manipulated with the speed and ease of a micro-organism, while offering the features of a higher organism such as epithelia, intestine, muscle and a complex sensory system. Most genes and pathways shown to be important in cell, developmental and disease biology are conserved. Therefore, the nematode is an excellent model of biological systems in general, and potentially a powerful tool to unravel human disease.

Our current interests evolve around several projects


Reverse genetic studies aiming to identify how key players are involved in toxic metal detoxification and essential metal homeostasis. Genes include cadmium-binding metallothioneins (mtl-1, mtl-2) and phytochelatin synthase (pcs-1), copper transporters (cutc-1) and zinc metalloproteinase/ transporters (neprilysins, LZTs).

We are also interested in metabolic profilling (in collaboration with Jake Bundy, Imperial College London) and X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) to pinpoint differences induced by exposure to heavy metals in wildype and mutant nematodes.


Studies on single and mixture toxicity: developing and using improved assessment tools and novel models to quantify and aim at reducing uncertainty in current risk assessment and screening methodologies. Compounds include fluoranthene, atrazine, chlorpyrifos, and nickel.

In addition, we study life span regulation: Polyphenols are a group of secondary plant dyes shown to have a positive effect on health and aging across the animal kingdom. Flavonoids have recently been shown to significantly extend the life span of the nematode C.elegans, a notion that is currently being investigated at the molecular level (whole genome microarrays, qPCR and RNAi) via a fellowship awarded to Dr Ralph Menzel.


Investigating genes that are conserved from invertebrate to man and their effect on commercial obesity drugs.

Oxidative stress:

Unraveling modulators of oxidative stress.

King's College London

  • Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine
  • School of Population Health & Environmental Sciences
  • 150 Stamford Street
  • London
  • SE1 9NH

After obtaining my M.Sc. in Molecular Life Sciences, I wanted to chase my dream of securing a PhD position that would train me to become a research active scientist. I didn’t have to search long: the good reputation and track record of Dr Sturzenbaum and his research group appealed to me...

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