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 Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences | Faculty | Charles Cunningham, Ph.D.

Charles Cunningham, Ph.D.

Research Interest:
A common feature of the genes described within many invertebrate databases is their lack of apparent homology with those of vertebrates. This makes even a tentative annotation of gene function almost impossible. My laboratory uses transcriptomics and proteomics to understand the molecular mechanisms that underpin the response of two very different invertebrate species to stress; the oyster Crassostrea virginica and the human trematode parasite Schistosoma mansoni. This stress can be caused by infection (immune stress), temperature or pH (environmental stress) and in the case of S. mansoni, the anti-schistosomal drug praziquantel (chemical stress). By studying which unknown genes are co-regulated with those of known function we aim to identify novel immune and stress related genes in each of these species. These newly identified genes may serve as indicators of oyster health or, in the case of S. mansoni, as potentially new drug targets.

Selected Publications:

1.  Herpin, A, Favrel, P and Cunningham, C. 2002. Gene structure and expression of cg-ALR1, a type I activin-like receptor from the bivalve mollusc Crassostrea gigas. Gene 301:21-30.

2.  Huvet, A, Herpin, A, D├ęgremont, L, Labreuche, Y, Samain, JF and Cunningham, C. 2004. The identification of genes from the oyster Crassostrea gigas that are differentially expressed in families exhibiting opposed susceptibility to summer mortality. Gene 343:211-220.

3.  Herpin A, Lelong C, Becker T, Favrel P, Cunningham C. 2005. Structural and functional evidences for a type 1 TGF-beta sensu stricto receptor in the lophotrochozoan Crassostrea gigas suggest conserved molecular mechanisms controlling mesodermal patterning across bilateria. Mechanisms of Development 122:695-705.

4.  Herpin A, Lelong C, Becker T, Favrel P, Cunningham C. 2005. Structural and functional evidence for a singular repertoire of BMP receptor signal transducing proteins in the lophotrochozoan Crassostrea gigas suggests a shared ancestral BMP/activin pathway. FEBS Journal 272:3424-3440.

5.  Cunningham C, Hikima J, Jenny MJ, Chapman RW, Fang GC, Saski C, Lundqvist ML, Wing RA, Cupit PM, Gross PS, Warr GW, Tomkins JP 2006. New Resources for Marine Genomics: BAC libraries for the Eastern and Pacific oysters (Crassostrea virginica and C. gigas). Marine Biotechnology 8:521-533.

Charles Cunningham, Ph.D.

Charles Cunningham, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

University of New Mexico, New Mexico

Ph.D., University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen UK

Dr. Cunningham's Contact Information