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Professor Tony Walker

Professor of cell biology, School of Life Sciences, Kingston University.

Professor Tony Walker Areas of expertise

Find out more about Professor Tony Walker

Overview

Tony Walker is a Reader in Cell Biology, where his current research centres on a parasite which causes Bilharzia (schistosomiasis).

"In terms of the public health burden, Bilharzia (as a tropical parasitic disease), is second only to Malaria, and according to the World Health Organisation some 200 million people around the world are affected by this disease at any one time," says Tony.

Whilst Bilharzia is found in more than 70 different tropical countries, an increasing number of cases are occurring elsewhere due to ecotourism. "Bilharzia is not generally on its own a killer. However complications arising from it, such as liver disease and high blood pressure can of course lead to serious consequences," adds Tony.

He is one of a handful of scientists around the world who are currently studying the complex lifecycle of schistosomes, which infect and then develop in snails before entering the definitive host - vertebrates such as humans, dogs and birds - through water-borne contact.

Tony and his team are currently trying to unlock the secrets of how the parasite manages to trick the snail's immune system into not recognising it as an enemy, thereby allowing it to persist and multiply in the snail before continuing its journey.

Bilharzia is commonly treated in developing countries with a drug called Praziquantel, which is relatively cheap and easily available. However its use for more than 20 years is inevitably leading to drug-resistance and new approaches to combating this disease need to be developed.

When not in the lab, Tony is an Honorary Scientific Associate of the Natural History Museum, a series editor for the international journal "Parasites & Vectors", an associate editor of the international journal "Journal of Molluscan Studies" and a peer reviewer for a number of organisations including the Wellcome Trust and the National Science Foundation.

He was recently invited to sit on an expert panel established by the Wellcome Trust and Sense about Science, to discuss and explore a common language of science to promote engagement between the lay public and biomedical researchers, so is extremely well-placed to explain his important work to the media.

Qualifications

Year gained Subject
2001 PGCE, Kingston University.
1997 PhD, University of Bristol, Biochemistry of digestion in molluscs.
1993 BSc (hons), Natural Science (Biology and Biochemistry), Brunel University, First Class.

Career Highlights

Year Position held
2006 - Reader in Cell Biology, School of Life Sciences, Kingston University.
1999 - 2006 Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, School of Life Sciences, Kingston University.
1997 - 1999 British Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Research fellow, Department of Medicine, University of Manchester.
1997 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Durham.

Research

Published papers:

Ressurreicao M, Rollinson D, Emery, AM, Walker AJ. A role for p38 MAPK in the regulation of ciliary motion in a eukaryote. BMC Cell Biology, 12, 6. 2011.

Walker AJ, Lacchini AH, Sealey KL, Mackintosh D, Davies AJ. Spreading by snail (Lymnaea stagnalis) defence cells is regulated through integrated PKC, FAK and Src signalling. Cell & Tissue Research, 341, 131-145. 2010.

Zahoor Z, Davies AJ., Kirk RS, Rollinson D, Walker AJ. Larval excretory-secretory products from the parasite Schistosoma mansoni modulate HSP70 protein expression in defence cells of its snail host, Biomphalaria glabrata. Cell Stress and Chaperones, 15, 639-650. 2010.

Zahoor Z, Davies AJ, Kirk RS, Rollinson D, Walker AJ. Nitric oxide production by Biomphalaria glabrata haemocytes: effects of Schistosoma mansoni ESPs and regulation through the extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway. Parasites & Vectors, 2, 18 (10 pg). 2009.

Ludtmann MHR, Rollinson D, Emery AM, Walker AJ. Protein kinase C signalling during miracidium to mother sporocyst development in the helminth parasite, Schistosoma mansoni. International Journal for Parasitology, 39, 1223-1233. 2009.

Zahoor Z, Davies AJ, Kirk, RS, Rollinson D, Walker AJ. Disruption of ERK signalling in Biomphalaria glabrata defence cells by Schistosoma mansoni: implications for parasite survival in the snail host. Developmental and Comparative Immunology, 32, 1561-1571. 2008.

Walker AJ, Rollinson D. Specific tyrosine phosphorylation induced in Schistosoma mansoni miracidia by haemolymph from schistosome susceptible, but not resistant, Biomphalaria glabrata. Parasitology, 135, 337-345. 2008.

Manship BM, Walker AJ, Jones LA, Davies AJ. Characterisation of cysteine proteinase activities in the digestive tract of juvenile Paragnathia formica isopods, ectoparasites of estuarine fish. Marine Biology, 153, 473-482. 2008.

Lacchini AH, Everington ML, Augousti AT, Walker AJ. Use of C. elegans as a model organism for sensing the effects of ELF-EMFs. Journal of Physics; Conference Series, 26, 012027 (4 pg). 2007.

Lockyer AE, Spinks JN, Walker AJ, Kane RA, Noble LR, Rollinson D, Dias-Neto E, Jones CS. Biomphalaria glabrata transcriptome: Identification of cell-signalling, transcriptional control and immune related genes from open reading frame expressed sequence tags (ORESTES). Developmental and Comparative Immunology, 31, 763-782. 2007.

Lacchini AH, Davies AJ, Mackintosh D, Walker AJ. b-1,3-glucan modulates PKC signalling in Lymnaea stagnalis defence cells: a role for PKC in H2O2 production and downstream ERK activation. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 209, 4829-4840. 2006.

Plows LD, Cook RT, Davies AJ, Walker AJ. Integrin engagement modulates the phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase, cell spreading, and phagocytosis in molluscan defence cells. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research, 1763, 779-786. 2006.

Walker AJ. Do trematode parasites disrupt defence cell signalling in their snail hosts? Trends in Parasitology, 22, 154-159. 2006.

Wright B, Lacchini AH, Davies AJ, Walker AJ. Regulation of nitric oxide production in Lymnaea stagnalis defence cells: a role for protein kinase C and extracellular signal-regulated kinase signalling pathways. Biology of the Cell, 98, 265-278. 2006.

Plows LD, Cook RT, Davies AJ, Walker AJ. Phagocytosis by Lymnaea stagnalis haemocytes: a potential role for phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase but not protein kinase A. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 91, 74-77. 2006.

Plows LD, Cook RT, Davies AJ, Walker AJ. Carbohydrates that mimic schistosome surface coat components affect ERK and PKC signalling in Lymnaea stagnalis haemocytes. International Journal for Parasitology, 35, 293-302. 2005.

Plows LD, Cook RT, Davies AJ, Walker AJ. Activation of Extracellular-signal Regulated Kinase (ERK) is required for phagocytosis by Lymnaea stagnalis haemocytes. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research, 1692, 25-33. 2004.

Walker AJ, Plows LD. Bacterial lipopolysaccharide modulates Protein Kinase C signalling in Lymnaea stagnalis haemocytes. Biology of the Cell, 95, 527-533. 2003.

Walker AJ, Plows LD, Humphries WA, Cook RT, Davies AJ. Dissecting the molecular basis of molluscan immunity: the effect of immune challenge on MAPK and PKC signalling in Lymnaea stagnalis haemocytes. BCPC Monograph, 80, Slugs and Snails: Agricultural, Veterinary & Environmental Perspectives, 63-68. 2003.

Walker AJ, Draegger A, Houssa B, van Blitterswijk WJ, Ohanian VO, Ohanian J. Diacylglycerol kinase q is translocated and phosphoinositide 3-kinase-dependantly activated by noradrenaline but not angiotensin II in intact small arteries. Biochemical Journal, 353, 129-137. 2001.     

Walker AJ, Glen DM and Shewry PR. Bacteria associated with the digestive system of the slug Deroceras reticulatum are not required for protein digestion. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 31, 1387-1394. 1999.

Walker AJ, Urwin PE, Atkinson HJ, Brain P, Glen DM and Shewry PR. Transgenic Arabidopsis leaf tissue expressing a modified oryzacystatin shows resistance to the field slug Deroceras reticulatum (Müller). Transgenic Research, 8, 95-103. 1999.

Walker AJ, Ford L, Majerus MEN, Geoghegan IE, Birch N, Gatehouse J, Gatehouse AMR. Characterisation of the mid-gut digestive proteinase activity of the two-spot ladybird (Adalia bipunctata L.) and its sensitivity to proteinase inhibitors. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 28, 173-180. 1998.              

Walker AJ, Glen DM, Shewry PR. Purification and characterisation of a digestive cysteine proteinase from the field slug (Deroceras reticulatum): A potential target for slug control. Journal of Food and Agricultural Chemistry, 46, 2873-2881. 1998.

Walker AJ, Glen DM, Shewry PR. Proteolytic enzymes present in the digestive system of the field slug, Deroceras reticulatum, as a target for novel methods of control. BCPC Monograph, 66, Slug and Snail Pests in Agriculture, 305-312. 1996.

Glen DM, Wiltshire CW, Walker AJ, Wilson, MJ, Shewry PR. Slug problems and control strategies in relation to crop rotations. Aspects of Applied Biology- Rotations and Cropping Systems, 47, 153-160. 1996.

Walker AJ, Miller AJ, Glen DM, Shewry PR. Determination of pH in the digestive system of the slug Deroceras reticulatum (Müller) using ion-selective microelectrodes. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 62, 387-390. 1996.    

 

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Conference Highlights

Tony is a seasoned conference key-note speaker and presenter on both the national and international circuit.

Professional Body Membership

British Society for Parasitology (2002 - ).

International Society for Comparative and Developmental Immunology (2005- ).

Biochemical Society (1993 - 1996 and 1999 - ).

Malacological Society of London (2003 - ).

Member of Council, Malacological Society of London.

 

 

Academic Accolades

Tony was the winner of the Kirkbye Cup Prize for research during his PhD and a university prize winner for biosciences whilst he was at Brunel.

Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us

Contact us

General enquiries:

Journalists only:

  • Communications team
    Tel: +44 (0)20 8417 3034
    Email us
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