Kafatos:Waterhouse, Robert

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Dr Rob Waterhouse <html> <a href="http://www.researcherid.com/rid/A-1858-2010" target="_blank"><span id="badgeCont104796" style="width:26px"> <script src="http://labs.researcherid.com/mashlets?el=badgeCont104796&mashlet=badge&showTitle=false&className=a&rid=A-1858-2010&size=small"> </script> </span></a> </html>

my Imperial e-mail is no longer valid: robert.waterhouse04[at]imperial.ac.uk

On completing my PhD studies in the Kafatos/Christophides Lab at Imperial College, London, I relocated to the University of Geneva Medical School to join the Computational Evolutionary Genomics Group as a Postdoctoral researcher.

Research Interests

  • Insect Innate Immunity
  • Comparative Insect Genomics and Immunogenomics
  • Evolution of Genes and Genomes

One of the major public health concerns of the new millennium centres on diseases transmitted to humans by blood-feeding insects. Sequencing of the Anopheles gambiae genome (Holt et al, 2002) drove an unprecedented acceleration in malaria research, particularly in the field of insect innate immunity, together with a growing appreciation of the importance of mosquito-parasite interactions. The second mosquito genome, Aedes aegypti (Nene et al, 2007), has enabled a comparative phylogenomic analysis of the insect immune repertoire among these two mosquitoes and the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. Analysis of immune signalling pathways and response modules revealed both conservative and rapidly evolving features associated with different functional gene categories and particular aspects of immune reactions (Waterhouse et al, 2007). These dynamics reflect in part the continuous readjustment between accommodation and rejection of pathogens and suggest how innate immunity may have evolved. The sequencing of these and other insect genomes enables informative comparative analyses with the integration of data sources, and the employment of a range of methodologies to build and test hypotheses, while focussing on innate immunity of disease vectors as a system of particular biomedical relevance.


  • 1998-1999: International Baccalaureate, Waterford KaMhlaba, United World College of Southern Africa, Swaziland.
  • 2000-2004: Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (MBioc), New College, Oxford, UK.
  • 2004-2005: Masters in Bioinformatics, Imperial College, London, UK.
  • 2005-2009: Wellcome Trust PhD with the Kafatos/Christophides Lab, Imperial College, London, UK.
  • 2009-present: Postdoctoral Fellow with the Computational Evolutionary Genomics Group, University of Geneva, Switzerland.


Visit my webpage to find out more about my research.

Part of my PhD involved building a database of genes and gene families implicated in insect innate immunity: ImmunoDB.

Part of my PhD involved building a database of orthologous genes across yeasts, arthropods, and vertebrates: OrthoDB.

Visit our SCITIZEN article - bringing Science to the People!

Read our Imperial College news item - Revealed: mosquito genes that could be controlling the spread of killer viruses.

Read our Imperial College news item - How mosquitoes could teach us a trick in the fight against malaria.

Read our ScienceDaily news item - Mosquito genes yield secrets to how they survive malaria-causing parasite.

Nasonia Genome In the Swiss News
Leman Bleu: news broadcast archive (starts after 11th minute)
Radio Suisse Romande: webpage story with access to audio interview
Tribune de Geneve: Web News Story

Body Louse Genome Nature News view

Culex mosquito genomics and pathogenomics view



Evolutionary dynamics of immune-related genes and pathways in disease-vector mosquitoes.
Science, 2007, PMID:17588928

The Aedes aegypti genome: a comparative perspective.
Insect Mol Biol, 2008, PMID:18237279

The genome of the model beetle and pest Tribolium castaneum.
Nature, 2008, PMID:18362917

Leucine-rich repeat protein complex activates mosquito complement in defence against Plasmodium parasites.
Science, 2009, PMID:19264986

Insect Infection and Immunity Evolution, Ecology, and Mechanisms.
Oxford University Press, 2009 OUP
Book Chapter: Comparative Genomics of Insect Immunity.

BIOINFORMATICS: A Swiss Perspective.
World Scientific Publishing Co., 2009 WSP
Book Chapter: Comparative Genome Analysis.

Discovery of Plasmodium modulators by genome-wide analysis of circulating hemocytes in Anopheles gambiae.
PNAS, 2009, PMID:19940242

Functional and evolutionary insights from the genomes of three parasitoid Nasonia species.
Science, 2010, PMID:20075255

A caspase-like decoy molecule enhances the activity of a paralogous caspase in the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti.
Insect Biochem Mol Biol, 2010, PMID:20417712

Genome sequences of the human body louse and its primary endosymbiont provide insights into the permanent parasitic lifestyle.
PNAS, 2010, PMID:20566863

Sequence-structure-function relations of the mosquito leucine-rich repeat immune proteins.
BMC Genomics, 2010, PMID:20920294

Sequencing of Culex quinquefasciatus establishes a platform for mosquito comparative genomics.
Science, 2010, PMID:20929810

Pathogenomics of Culex quinquefasciatus and meta-analysis of infection responses to diverse pathogens.
Science, 2010, PMID:20929811

OrthoDB: the hierarchical catalog of eukaryotic orthologs in 2011.
NAR, 2010 (E-pub), PMID:20972218

Correlating traits of gene retention, sequence divergence, duplicability and essentiality in vertebrates, arthropods, and fungi.
Genome Biol Evol, 2010 (E-pub), PMID:21148284


Quantification of insect genome divergence
Trends Genet, 2007, PMID:17097187

Quantification of ortholog losses in insects and vertebrates
Genome Biol, 2007, PMID:18021399

OrthoDB: the hierarchical catalog of eukaryotic orthologs
Nucleic Acids Res, 2008, PMID:17947323

miROrtho: computational survey of microRNA genes
Nucleic Acids Res, 2009, PMID:18927110

Paternal effect of the nuclear formin-like protein MISFIT on Plasmodium development in the mosquito vector
PLoS Pathog, 2009, PMID:19662167