Dr. Darren Brooks
School of Science, Engineering and Environment
Lecturer in Molecular Bioscience; Programme Leader for Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Science
Upon completion of my PhD thesis, I spent four years as a post-doctoral researcher (Mottram/Coombs group) at the Wellcome Centre for Molecular Parasitology, University of Glasgow, studying Leishmania mexicana cysteine proteases. This was followed by a further post-doctoral position at the University of Leeds (Elwyn Isaac’s group) studying metalloproteases in the model free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. I joined the University of Salford in 2003 as a lecturer and my fascination with parasites and proteases continues.
I am also passionate about internationalisation of education. To this end, I lead undergraduate exchange programme links (Biology and Biochemistry) with the University of Toledo, Ohio. I am also the ELS International Tutor.
Areas of research
Proteases, Parasitology, C. Elegans, Ageing, Disease
I am programme leader for the BSc (Hons) programmes in Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Science. At undergraduate level, I lead the module ‘Fundamentals of Biochemistry.’ I also contribute teaching to other modules that are core to degrees in Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Biology and Zoology. At postgradaute level, I contribute to teaching on the MSc Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology programme.
One area of research interest is parasite/nematode proteases. Genome sequencing efforts have shown that organisms not only have large and diverse families of proteases but interestingly, they also contain many ‘non-peptidase’ homologues. In collaboration with Elwyn Isaac (University of Leeds) we have shown that a non-peptidase member of the angiotensin-converting enzyme family (acn-1) is essential for moulting in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.
My other area of interest is focussed on parasite infections in wildlife; in particular, threatened species of wildlife. For example, bats are host to a multitude of infectious agents, including viruses that pose a zoonotic threat, and parasites. We have recently shown that pipistrelle bats are commonly infected with digenean trematodes; the life-cycle details of many of the species are not fully described. In addition, male pipistrelles showed a significantly more aggregated helminth distribution and lower parasite abundance than female bats. The ecology of these parasite species and how they interact with other co-infections carried by bats remains to be elucidated.
- BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, University of Leeds, 1990
- PhD Molecular Parasitology, U.M.I.S.T., 1995
- PgCert in H.E. Practice and Research, University of Salford, 2006
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2017)