R. Mcmullan
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Biography <p>I completed my PhD in Biosciences at The University of Birmingham in 2003, studying the role of Rho small GTPases in keratinocyte function. Following this I&nbsp;undertook a postdoc at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology investigating the function of Rho family&nbsp;small GTPases during neurotransmitter release in<em>Caenorhabditis elegans</em>.</p><p>In 2010 I became a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow at Imperial College using&nbsp;<em>C. elegans&nbsp;</em>to study the relationships between the nervous and immune systems the mediate responses to infection.&nbsp;</p><p>I joined the School&nbsp;of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences in 2015 as a lecturer.</p><p><strong>1999&nbsp;</strong>BSc Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology The University of Birmingham&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2003&nbsp;</strong>PhD Biosciences The University of Birmingham&nbsp;</p>
Description <p>I completed my PhD in Biosciences at The University of Birmingham in 2003, studying the role of Rho small GTPases in keratinocyte function. Following this I&nbsp;undertook a postdoc at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology investigating the function of Rho family&nbsp;small GTPases during neurotransmitter release in<em>Caenorhabditis elegans</em>.</p><p>In 2010 I became a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow at Imperial College using&nbsp;<em>C. elegans&nbsp;</em>to study the relationships between the nervous and immune systems the mediate responses to infection.&nbsp;</p><p>I joined the School&nbsp;of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences in 2015 as a lecturer.</p><p><strong>1999&nbsp;</strong>BSc Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology The University of Birmingham&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2003&nbsp;</strong>PhD Biosciences The University of Birmingham&nbsp;</p>
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Job title Lecturer in Health Sciences
Research overview <h3>Disgust</h3><p class="rtejustify">The constant risk of infection by pathogens has driven the evolution of&nbsp;behavioural&nbsp;adaptations in free-living animals that&nbsp;helps&nbsp;them to reduce pathogen contact. Such pathogen avoidance&nbsp;behaviours&nbsp;are observed across&nbsp;<em>Animalia</em>, from invertebrates to mammals. In humans, the emotion that serves to keep us away from sources of infection is disgust. This pathogen avoidance theory of disgust (PAT)&nbsp;is supported by strong correlations between disgust elicitors and pathogen sources. Given the many parallels between&nbsp;human disgust and pathogen avoidance&nbsp;behaviours&nbsp;in other&nbsp;animals&nbsp;we can begin to understand disgust through experimental studies of pathogen avoidance in animals.&nbsp;</p><p class="rtejustify">Twin studies have shown that disgust sensitivity is heritable&nbsp;implying the existence of&lsquo;disgust genes&rsquo;.&nbsp;The nematode worm&nbsp;<em>Caenorhabditis&nbsp;elegans&nbsp;</em>is routinely used as a genetic model to dissect complex&nbsp;behaviours. We and others have established&nbsp;<em>C.&nbsp;elegans&nbsp;</em>as a&nbsp;cost-effective invertebrate model of&nbsp;disgust that&nbsp;can be used&nbsp;to determine the function of specific genes in disgust.&nbsp;This model provides a platform&nbsp;for&nbsp;further&nbsp;investigations into the evolutionary role of disgust in host&nbsp;defence.</p><p class="rtejustify">Unravelling&nbsp;the genetic basis of disgust-related&nbsp;behaviour&nbsp;could have numerous practical benefits. Disgust can be leveraged to improve health&nbsp;and influence social&nbsp;behaviours. It may lead to new therapeutic approaches to disgust-related pathologies such as contamination-based&nbsp;obsessive compulsive&nbsp;disorder (OCD), some phobias including&nbsp;blood- injection-injury&nbsp;phobia and arachnophobia&nbsp;and&nbsp;trypophobia.&nbsp;</p><h3>The effect of organophosphate exposure on neuronal function and its role in mood disorders</h3><p>In collaboration&nbsp;with Dr Gini Harrison (Psychology)</p><p class="rtejustify">Previous research has reported a link between&nbsp;exposure to organophosphate (OP) pesticides, mood disorders and suicidal&nbsp;behaviour. The mechanism&nbsp;through which OP exposure may result in mood&nbsp;disorders is unclear. Some researchers have suggested&nbsp;that they may also cause changes to serotonergic and&nbsp;dopaminergic pathways, which are systems involved in&nbsp;mood and stress regulation. Using behavioural assays in<em>C. elegans</em>we are studying&nbsp;how&nbsp;the long-term, low level&nbsp;OP exposure that has been associated&nbsp;with mood disorders affects&nbsp;neuronal&nbsp;development and function.</p><h2>Selected Publications</h2><p><strong>2018</strong></p><p><span style="font-family: Tahoma,&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;"><a href="http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/content/373/1751/20170256">Sarabian, C.&nbsp;Curtis, V. and McMullan, R.&nbsp;</a><a href="http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/content/373/1751/20170256">Evolution of pathogen and parasite avoidance</a><a href="http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/content/373/1751/20170256">behaviours</a></span><a href="http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/content/373/1751/20170256"><br style="font-family: Tahoma,&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;" /></a><a href="http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/content/373/1751/20170256"><span style="font-family: Tahoma,&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;"><em>Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences,</em>373, Article 20170256(1751)</span></a></p><p><a href="https://libezproxy.open.ac.uk/login?svc=lean&amp;url=http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/373/1751/20170255"><span style="font-family: Tahoma,&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;">Anderson, A.&nbsp;</span>and<span style="font-family: Tahoma,&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;">&nbsp;McMullan, R. Neuronal and non-neuronal signals regulate&nbsp;<em>C. elegans</em>&nbsp;avoidance of contaminated food</span><strong style="font-family: Tahoma,&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;">&nbsp;</strong><span style="font-family: Tahoma,&quot;Lucida Grande&quot;, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 12.8px;"><em>Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences</em>, 373, Article 20170255(1751)</span></a></p><p><strong>2014</strong><br /><a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/kwrm20/3/3" rel="nofollow">Anderson A. and McMullan R. From head to tail it&#39;s a two way street for neuro-immune communication&nbsp;<em>Worm</em>&nbsp;3(3) e959425</a><br /><strong>2013</strong><br /><a href="http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1003787" rel="nofollow" title="">Anderson A, Laurenson-Schafer H, Partridge F, Hodgkin J, McMullan R. 2013, Serotonergic Chemosensory Neurons Modify the&nbsp;<em>C. elegans</em>&nbsp;Immune Response by Regulating G-protein Signalling in Epithelial Cells,&nbsp;<em>PLOS Pathogens</em>&nbsp;Vol:9(12), e1003787</a><br /><a href="http://www.wormbook.org/wbg/articles/volume-19-number-4/a-simple-method-for-quantifying-m-nematophilum-clearance-from-the-rectal-opening-of-c-elegans/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="">Anderson A,&nbsp;Kang&nbsp;S,&nbsp;McMullan R, 2013, A simple method for quantifying M. nematophilum clearance from the rectal opening of C. elegans,&nbsp;<em>Worm Breeders Gazette</em>, Vol:19 (4), Pages: 15-16&nbsp;</a><br /><a href="http://www.wormbook.org/wbg/articles/volume-19-number-4/a-modified-leaving-assay-to-study-pathogen-avoidance/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="">Anderson A, McMullan E, 2013, A modified leaving assay to study pathogen avoidance,&nbsp;<em>Worm Breeders Gazette</em>, Vol:19 (4), Pages: 13-14&nbsp;</a><br /><strong>2012&nbsp;</strong><br /><a href="https://www.landesbioscience.com/article/20466/full_text/#load/info/all" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="">Anderson A, McMullan R, G-proteins: Fighting infection on two fronts,&nbsp;<em>Worm</em>, Vol:1, ISSN:2162-4046, Pages:196-201</a><br /><a href="http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1002530" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="">McMullan R, Anderson A, Nurrish S, 2012, Behavioral and Immune Responses to Infection Require G alpha q- RhoA Signaling in C. elegans,&nbsp;<em>PLOS Pathogens</em>, Vol:8, ISSN:1553-7366, Pages:e1002530-e1002530</a></p>
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Label Dr Rachel McMullan
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  • McMullan
  • Mcmullan
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  • Rachel
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Name
  • R. Mcmullan
  • R. McMullan
  • Rachel Mcmullan
  • Rachel McMullan
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