Professor Ian Hope

Professor Ian Hope


My first degree was in Biochemistry, graduating from the University of Oxford in 1981. I studied for my PhD in the Department of Molecular Biology, The University of Edinburgh, until 1984, cloning potential vaccine targets from 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 in 1987 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. I became a senior lecturer in 1997, professor in 2008 and Head of School for the School of Biology in 2014.


  • Head of School

Research interests

The Hope Laboratory studies the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegansC. elegans has many characteristics which make this species a particularly powerful model system for investigation of various aspects of biology, including animal development and behaviour. In addition, the remarkable conservation of animals at the molecular, genetic and cell biological levels means that findings with this worm are typically relevant to all animals, including humans. There have been numerous major biological discoveries made through research on C. elegans. (See WormBook for more background information.)

Current activity in the Hope Laboratory involves creation and study of variants of the ryanodine receptor involved in various human myopathic conditions such as malignant hyperthermia, exertional heat illness, central core disease and late onset axial myopathy. In addition to muscle cell function, our experiments have revealed a significance of these variants for nerve cell function, of potential relevance to neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

Previously, the Hope Laboratory investigated transcription factors and differential gene expression in C. elegans development. Differential gene expression, from cell to cell, is a major factor in the generation of the cellular diversity created during an animal’s development. More than four thousand transgenic strains expressing gfp (green fluorescent protein) fusions to C. elegans genes were generated and have been provided for use in other C. elegans laboratories around the world (See our database.)

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BA, Oxford; PhD 1984, Edinburgh.

Professional memberships

  • Genetics Society
  • British Society of Developmental Biology

Student education

My main teaching contributions are in the level 2 and level 3 Animal Developmental Biology modules BLGY2262 and BLGY3251, in the Marine Zoology Field Course BLGY2321 and in Comparative Genomics BLGY3291.

Studentship information

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • Molecular genetic investigations in Caenorhabditis elegans. Ryanodine receptor. Alzheimer’s Disease.

See also:

Academic roles:

  • Head of School - Head of School, Biology from 1st August 2014 for a period of 5 years in the first instance


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

Research groups and institutes

  • Heredity, Development and Disease
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>