Professor Bernadette Connolly

Professor Bernadette Connolly
BSc (Hons), PhD

Personal Chair

Professor Bernadette Connolly
Professor Bernadette Connolly

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 437360
The University of Aberdeen Room 4.31
Institute of Medical Sciences
University of Aberdeen
AB25 2ZD
Scotland, UK


Personal Chair, Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen (2013)
Senior Lecturer in Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen (2003) 
Lecturer in Molecular & Cell Biology, University of Aberdeen (1999) 

Molecular Parasitology:
Marie-Heim Voegtlin Fellow, University of Bern, Switzerland (1997) 
Group Leader, Institute of Parasitology, University of Bern, Switzerland (1994-1999) 
Post-doctoral Researcher, Imperial College London (1990-1993) 

Genetics & Biochemistry of DNA Recombination:
Post-doctoral Researcher, Imperial Cancer Research Fund (1987-1990) 
Post-doctoral Researcher, Brandeis University, Massachusetts (1983-1987)

PhD (Genetics), Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (1984) 
BSc (Hons), NUI Maynooth, Ireland (1980) 


Research Interests

I am interested in the biology and evolution of nematodes, with a particular interest in parasitic species and understanding the molecular basis of the host-parasite interaction. My group studies Trichinella, a remarkable species of parasitic nematode both in terms of its choice of niche and in the strategies it has evolved to exploit that niche. The infective L1 larva is an intracellular parasite of mammalian skeletal muscle, remodelling the intracellular environment to create a niche for itself. On infection a realignment of host cell gene expression is induced that ultimately leads to dedifferentiation of the muscle cell and redifferentiation to a new cell type designed to support the parasite. The parasite itself may be involved in initiating these changes in the host cell, but the precise mechanism remains to be elucidated.

Further Info

External Responsibilities

Member of the International Commission on Trichinellosis since 2007 

Admin Responsibilities

Deputy Director, Institute of Medical Sciences (2015 - )

Director of the Graduate School, College of Life Sciences & Medicine (2007 - 2016)

EASTBIO-BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Management Group

Group Members

Chris Johnston – PhD Student
Rotimi Fasimoye – PhD Student
Ammar Alturkistani – PhD Student
Christina Lagido – Research Technician

Former Group Members

Dr Lucas Philippe
Dr Mark Robinson
Dr Dan Gare
Mrs Diane Massie

George Pandarakalam PhD, 2016
Debjani Sarkar PhD, 2014
Emma Sheils PhD, 2012
Krystyna Cwiklinski PhD, 2009
Alain Kemp MSc (Research), 2007
Rachel Greig MSc (Research), 2006
Mark Ackroyd PhD, 2006
Jackie Boyd PhD, 2003
Sabine Kuratli PhD, 2001
Johan Lindh PhD, 1996



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Contributions to Journals


  • Philippe, L., Pandarakalam, GC., Fasimoye, R., Harrison, N., Connolly, B., Pettitt, J. & Muller, B. (2017). 'An in vivo genetic screen for genes involved in spliced leader trans-splicing indicates a crucial role for continuous de novo spliced leader RNP assembly'. Nucleic Acids Research, vol 45, no. 14, pp. 8474-8483.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkx500
    [Online] AURA: An_in_vivo_genetic_screen_for_genes_involved_in_spliced_lead...
  • Pettitt, J., Philippe, L., Sarkar, D., Johnston, C., Gothe, H., Massie, D., Connolly, B. & Muller, B. (2014). 'Operons Are a Conserved Feature of Nematode Genomes'. Genetics, vol 197, no. 4, pp. 1201-1211.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1534/genetics.114.162875
  • Harrison, N., Kalbfleisch, A., Connolly, B., Pettitt, J. & Muller, B. (2010). 'SL2-like spliced leader RNAs in the basal nematode Prionchulus punctatus: new insight into the evolution of nematode SL2 RNAs'. RNA , vol 16, no. 8, pp. 1500-1507.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1261/rna.2155010
  • Pettitt, J., Harrison, N., Stansfield, I., Connolly, B. & Müller, B. (2010). 'The evolution of spliced leader trans-splicing in nematodes'. Biochemical Society Transactions, vol 38, no. 4, pp. 1125-1130.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1042/BST0381125
  • Bolas-Fernandez, F., Dea-Ayuela, MA., Connolly, B. & Robinson, MW. (2009). 'Micro-environmental conditions modulate protein secretion and infectivity of the Trichinella spiralis L1 larva'. Veterinary Parasitology, vol 159, no. 3-4, pp. 236-239.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2008.10.049
  • Cwiklinski, K., Meskill, D., Robinson, MW., Pozio, E., Appleton, JA. & Connolly, B. (2009). 'Cloning and analysis of a Trichinella pseudospiralis muscle larva secreted serine protease gene'. Veterinary Parasitology, vol 159, no. 3-4, pp. 268-271.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2008.10.036
  • Pettitt, J., Muller, BM., Stansfield, I. & Connolly, B. (2008). 'Spliced leader trans-splicing in the nematode Trichinella spiralis uses highly polymorphic, noncanonical spliced leaders'. RNA , vol 14, no. 4, pp. 760-770.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1261/rna.948008
  • Robinson, MW., Greig, R., Beattie, KA., Lamont, DJ. & Connolly, B. (2007). 'Comparative analysis of the excretory-secretory proteome of the muscle larva of Trichinella pseudospiralis and Trichinella spiralis'. International Journal for Parasitology, vol 37, no. 2, pp. 139-148.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1016/J.IJPARA.2006.08.007
  • Robinson, MW., Massie, DH. & Connolly, B. (2007). 'Secretion and processing of a novel multi-domain cystatin-like protein by intracellular stages of Trichinella spiralis'. Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, vol 151, no. 1, pp. 9-17.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1016/J.MOLBIOPARA.2006.09.008
  • Robinson, MW. & Connolly, B. (2005). 'Proteomic analysis of the excretory-secretory proteins of the Trichinella spiralis L1 larva, a nematode parasite of skeletal muscle'. Proteomics, vol 5, no. 17, pp. 4525-4532.
    [Online] DOI: 10.1002/pmic.200402057
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