Aston Insight by Dr Alison Woollard, 5th March

Dr Alison Woollard, Biochemistry Department, University of Oxford
Dr Alison Woollard, Biochemistry Department, University of Oxford. Photo credit: Paul Wilkinson

Of Worms and Men: Lessons in Biology and Medicine

Wednesday 5th March 2014

5.30pm - tea and coffee served
6.00pm - lecture commences

Sumpner Lecture Theatre, 6th Floor, Main Building, Aston University 


With all organisms sharing many similarities at genetic level, work on the tiny roundworm C.elegans (and other well-established model organisms, such as yeast, fruitflies and zebrafish), can be applied to more complex organisms, including humans. Today model organisms remain at the forefront of biomedical research, illuminating a myriad of biological problems: from learning more about the genetics of behaviour to understanding the development of cancer. This lecture will explore the latest discoveries in the work on model organisms and how they may contribute to the medicines of the future.

Dr Alison Woollard

Alison Woollard is a University Lecturer in Genetics in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Oxford working on the developmental genetics of the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. She is also a Fellow and Tutor in Biochemistry at Hertford College, Oxford.

Alison was educated at the Universities of London and Oxford, achieving a first degree in Biological Sciences in 1991 and a PhD in 1995. Her current work concerns molecular mechanisms of cell fate determination during C. elegans development and tries to unpick the complex mechanisms by which cells become different from one another. She also has a developing interest in the biology of ageing.

  Alison is a very enthusiastic teacher and loves sharing her passion for genetics, cell and developmental biology with students as well as wider audiences. She is a fervent believer in the idea that good education is transformative, both in individual lives and in society as a whole. Alison delivered the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2013, with her series “Life Fantastic”, broadcast on BBC4 over the Christmas period.

For further information about this event, please call 0121 204 4542 or email