Department of Biology & Biochemistry


Professor Emeritus

3 South 1.11


Tel: +44 (0) 1225 385116 


Prof Stuart Reynolds


I’m now retired and have an Emeritus Chair. This means that my research lab has closed, and I am unable to accept research students or postdocs. But I continue to do collaborative research.

Current Research

Insects and Microbes

I’m interested in specific interactions between insects and microbes. Millions of years of natural selection have enabled insect-specific pathogens to overcome insect defences, often using insect-specific immunotoxins, which may be useful in crop protection. Because most animals are insects, this research can tell us a lot about how microbes cause disease in any kind of animal (including humans) as well as yielding fundamental understanding of how immune systems work.

Other microbes are obligate or facultative endosymbionts of insects, and constitute an important enabling mechanism for the fantastic diversification of insects. We know very little about how insects are able to tolerate and even encourage the presence of endosymbiotic microorganisms while simultaneously defending themselves against potential pathogens. Better understanding of this will shed light on the evolutionary history of the immune system.

Agriculture, Population and Biodiversity

I am concerned about how the Earth’s growing human population will be fed in the future. This raises all sorts of questions, but one obvious one is how to manage the competition between people and insects for food. Knowledge about insect infection and immunity is likely to be useful in devising safer, more effective ways of controlling insect pests of agricultural crops and vectors of human disease. Another question is how the almost inevitable extensification of agriculture (i.e. using more land) will impact on the conservation of global biodiversity, and how this can be alleviated through agricultural and development policy. I am interested in both science and policy in this area: I am a member of the All-party Parliamentary Group on Biodiversity.


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