Faculty of Biological Sciences

Prof Ian Hope

BA, Oxford; PhD 1984, Edinburgh.
Professor of Invertebrate Developmental Genetics
School of Biology

Background: I studied for my PhD in the Department of Molecular Biology, The University of Edinburgh for research on the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. I then worked on the regulation of gene expression in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as a postdoctoral research associate in Harvard Medical School. I returned to the UK to begin studying animal development in Caenorhabditis elegans as a junior staff scientist at the Medical Research Council's Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge and in 1991 moved to Leeds as a lecturer.

Contact:  Manton 9.22a, +44(0) 113 34 32889 (office) / 32888 (lab), email address for  

You can read more about Prof Hope's interests here:

Research Interests

Animal Development, Gene Expression and Locomotion In The Nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans

Expression of a Reporter Gene Fusion in a C. elegans embryo. The reporter gene GFP (green fluorescent protein) was fused to the C. elegans gene, F52F12.6, which encodes a homologue of human myelin transcription factor 1.

Animal development is the process by which a single cell, the fertilised egg, becomes a mature and highly complex adult organism. Differential gene expression from cell to cell is a major factor in the generation of the cellular diversity generated during development. Nerve cells and muscle cells function to drive an animal's interaction with the environment to achieve purposeful locomotion. The nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) has many characteristics which make this species a particularly powerful model system for study of various aspects of biology, including development, genetics and behaviour. (See WormClassroom for more background information.) C. elegans is the subject of the research pursued in this laboratory.

Through the years we have used a series of approaches, with progressive improvements in efficiency and quality, for determination of the developmental expression patterns for genes across the C. elegans genome. In each approach regulatory regions of C. elegans genes have been fused to a reporter gene and transgenic C. elegans lines, transformed with these constructions, were examined to reveal gene expression patterns in situ. The strategies used most recently have involved MultiSite Gateway Recombination and Recombineering. MultiSite Gateway Recombination was applied in a collaboration led by Marc Vidal (CCSB, DFCI, Harvard), and including Marian Walhout (UMass Med School). Transgenic C. elegans lines containing these reporter gene fusions were made by microprojectile bombardment rather than the microinjection procedures used previously (Reece-Hoyes, J.S. et al. ('07) BMC Genomics, 8, 27Dupuy, D., et al. ('07) Nature Biotechnology, 25, 663-8.). Currently, however, we use recombineering of fosmids to introduce reporter genes seamlessly into precise positions within genes within large genomic DNA fragments to maximize the likelihood that all regulatory elements acting on the target gene have been retained (Dolphin, C.T. and Hope, I.A. ('06) Nucleic Acids Research, 34, e72.) in a collaboration with Colin Dolphin (King's College, London). Recombineering has been used specifically to examine the operon based expression of the C. elegans sirtuin gene sir-2.1 (Bamps, S. et al. ('09) Mech. Aging Development, 130, 762-70.) and the regulation of transcription factor genes expressed in the nervous system (Bamps, S. et al. ('11) Mol. Genetics Genomics, 286, 95-107, Feng, H. et al. ('12) Gene, 494, 73-84, Feng, H. and Hope, I.A. ('13) Genesis; Journal of Genetics & Development, 51, 163-78.). We have also examined the significance of alternative transcripts for C. elegans transcription factor genes (Craig, H. et al ('13) BMC Genomics, 14, 249.) Results of these studies are contributing to our understanding of how gene expression is orchestrated, genome wide, through development.

Recently, collaborations with Elwyn Isaac (also in School of Biology, Leeds) and Netta Cohen (School of Computing, Leeds) have led into Systems Biology and Computer Modelling concerning the C. elegans nervous system and locomotory behaviour. For example, the differential turnover of proteins integral to muscle contraction has been documented (Ghosh, S. and Hope, I.A. ('10) Eur. J. Cell Biol. 89, 437-48.) and mathematical representations of C. elegans movement across an agar surface and in liquid of varying viscosities have been derived (Berri, S. et al. ('09) HFSP J., 3, 186-93, Boyle, J. et al. ('11) Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 5, 10.). Another collaboration, this time with Steve Sait (also in School of Biology, Leeds), has led in an ecological direction. The genetics behind the link between cold tolerance and longevity in C. elegans has been characterized (Savory, F. et al. ('11) PLoS One, 6, e24550.).

All the expression pattern data we have generated are available in our database. Our data may also be found in the C. elegans database WormBase, where it is integrated with the genetic and sequence data for this organism.

Faculty research groupings from which our research benefits include Ecology & Evolution and Neuroscience.

Faculty Research and Innovation

Studentship information

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • Molecular Genetics of Caenorhabditis elegans.

See also:

Modules managed

BLGY2262 - Animal Developmental Biology
BLGY3251 - Animal Developmental Biology

Modules taught

BLGY1304 - Research Experience and Skills Level 1
BLGY2262 - Animal Developmental Biology
BLGY2301 - Research Experience and Skills Level 2
BLGY2321 - Marine Zoology Field Course
BLGY3251 - Animal Developmental Biology
BLGY3291 - Comparative Genomics
BLGY3340 - Biology Research Projects
BLGY3395 - Advanced Research Skills and Experience
BLGY3396 - Research Literature Review
BLGY5380M - Extended Research Project
FOBS1135/BLGY1115 - The Basis of Life/Introduction to Cell Biology: from Molecules to Cells and Tissues


Member of Graduate School Committee (Faculty representative on Graduate Board Group on Higher Doctorates)

Group Leader Prof Ian Hope  (Professor of Invertebrate Developmental Genetics)

Animal Development, Gene Expression and Locomotion In The Nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans 

Mr William Porter  (Technician)


Brittany Graham (Primary supervisor) 75% FTE
Christopher Brittin (Co-supervisor) 50% FTE
Rosamund Clifford (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE
Elpiniki Kalogeropoulou (Co-supervisor) 40% FTE
Ali Taylor (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE