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Dr. Alejandra Zarate-Potes

Lecturer in Biomedical Science




02.2024-present: Lecturer in Biomedical Science,  Edge Hill University, UK

02.2020-01.2024: Senior Research Associate, Lancaster University, UK

05.2018–01.2020: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Christian-Albrechts University Kiel, Germany

01.2014–05.2018: Doctoral candidate-PhD in Natural Sciences (magna cum laude). Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology Plön, Germany/Christian-Albrechts University Kiel, Germany.

Dissertation titled: High specificity in C. elegans innate immune responses.

01.2011–12.2013: MSc in Biology (Emphasis in Genetics), Universidad Nacional de Colombia.


I am an enthusiastic and inquisitive life scientist fascinated by the evolutionary and molecular biology of host-microbe interactions.

How does the crosstalk between bacteria and their animal hosts work and how has it evolved over time?

What role does the immune system play in host-microbe interactions?

What is the decision-making process that leads to a particular immune response?

These are some of the questions that have captivated me in my past and current work. Previously, my colleagues and I have characterised the transcriptional response of cnidarian and C. elegans invertebrate models to bacterial exposure and uncovered genes that are central to the innate immune response of these organisms, with evolutionary and potential functional conservation in humans. These discoveries have allowed us to understand how specific and fine-tuned innate immune responses can be. In the future, I would like to explore how the natural evolution of the immune system can help us treat infectious disease today.

My aim is to understand how interactions between animals and microbes work and evolve, how they influence each other’s health and the conditions that lead to disease. I believe that this knowledge can be harnessed to improve human health.

I am passionate about teaching, promoting research integrity, and want to motivate students and the public to be curious about innate immunity, host-microbe interactions and seeking answers to relevant questions.