University of Dundee

Professor David Coates MBE CBiol FRSA FRSB FLS

Professor of Life Sciences and Chancellor's Award Fellow
D'Arcy Thompson Unit, Biological and Biomedical Sciences Education, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee
Full Telephone: 
+44 (0) 1382 385111, int ext 85111


To my mind, the ‘student voice’ is a critical part of building and maintaining the curriculum – after all, you learn because its useful and you want to know something, and we help you get the right courses and experiences: those conversations between students and staff are really important for making sure that the curriculum we deliver is current, is exciting and challenging, and gets you to appreciate your favourite subject even more. I have a particular interest in quality assurance and accreditation, and work in the Royal Society of Biology’s Degree Accreditation Committee to develop life science curricula nationally, focussed on giving employers the graduates they want, and graduates the skills they need.



  1. B. Shorrocks and D. Coates. The Release of GMOs into the Environment, pp.48, Shrewsbury, Field Studies Council. 1993

Parts of Books

  1. D. E. Evans, P. Askerlund, J. Boyce, S. A. Briars, D. Coates, J. Coates, D. T. Cooke and F. L. Theodoulou. Studies on the higher plant calmodulin stimulated ATPase., Ed: D. T. Clarkson and D. T. Cooke. Transport and Receptor Proteins of Plant Membranes; Molecular structure and function, pp. 39-53, New York, Plenum Press, 1992
  2. D. Coates and D. Penman. Introduction to genetic engineering, Ed: B. Shorrocks and D. Coates. The Release of GMOs into the Environment, pp. 3-8, Shrewsbury, Field Studies Council, 1993
  3. S. Crossland, D. Coates, J. Grahame and P. J. Mill. The Littorina saxatilis complex: ­interpretation using RAPDs, Ed: J. D. Taylor. The Origin and Evolutionary Radiation of the Mollusca: Centenary Symposium of the Malacological Society of London.,  Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1995
  4. R. E. Isaac, D. Coates, T. A. Williams and L. Schoofs. Insect angiotensin-converting enzyme: comparative biochemistry and evolution, Ed: G. M. Coast and S. G. Webster. Recent Advances in Arthropod Endocrinology, pp. 357-378, Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, 1998
  5. R. E. Isaac, L. Schoofs, T. A. Williams, P. Corvol, D. Veelaert, M. Sajid and D. Coates. Towards a role for angiotensin-converting enzyme in insects, Trends in Comparative Endocrinology and Neurobiology, pp. 288-292, New York, New York Acad Sciences, 1998
  6. S. Seal and D. Coates. Detection of viruses by PCR, Ed: G. Foster. Plant Virology Protocols. Humana Press, 1998
  7. R. E. Isaac, U. Ekbote, D. Coates and A. D. Shirras. Insect angiotensin-converting enzyme -A processing enzyme with broad substrate specificity and a role in reproduction, Neuropeptides: Structure and Function in Biology and Behavior, pp. 342-347, New York, New York Acad Sciences, 1999
  8. R. E. Isaac and D. Coates. Peptidyl dipeptidase A in Invertebrates, Ed: A. J. Barrett, N. D. Rawlings and J. F. Woessner. Handbook of Proteolytic Enzymes, pp. London, Academic Press, 1997
  9. Coates, D. Mining proteases in the genome databases. Proteases in Biology and Medicine.38: 185-196. 2002

Full papers in refereed journals

  1. D. Coates and C. A. Cullis, The chloroplast DNAs of flax genotrophs. Plant Molecular Biology, vol. 1, pp. 183-189. 1982
  2. D. Owen, K. Pearce, J. Hewitt, J. Bryan, D. Coates, A. To and G. R. K. Sastry, Studies On Multiple-Drug Resistance and Its Relationship to Tumorigenicity In Agrobacterium tumefaciens B6-806. Archives of Microbiology, vol. 135, pp. 42-44. 1983
  3. E. W. Taliercio, D. Coates and S. B. Gelvin, The Nucleosome Structure Of the Ribosomal-RNA Genes Of Some Tumorous and Nontumorous Nicotiana Cell Lines. Plant Molecular Biology, vol. 5, pp. 247-255.1985
  4. D. Coates and C. A. Cullis, Chloroplast DNA Variability Among Linum Species. American Journal Of Botany, vol. 74, pp. 260-268. 1987
  5. D. Coates, E. W. Taliercio and S. B. Gelvin, Chromatin Structure Of Integrated T-DNA In Crown Gall Tumors. Plant Molecular Biology, vol. 8, pp. 159-168. 1987
  6. T. C. Willcocks, S. P. Craig, D. Coates and I. W. Craig, Coding Sequences For Carcinoembryonic Antigen (Cea) Assigned to Human-Chromosome 19q13. Cytogenetics and Cell Genetics, vol. 46, pp. 716-716.1987
  7. F.J.R Taylor and D. Coates, The Code Within the Codons. Biosystems, 22(3): p. 177-187. 1989
  8. J. M. Boyce, D. Coates, B. S. Cox and D. E. Evans, Studies on the molecular biology of the plant plasma membrane Calcium pump. Physiologia Plantarum, vol. 79, pp. 492. 1990
  9. D. E. Evans, J. M. Boyce, S. A. Briers, F. Theodolou, B. S. Cox and D. Coates, Calcium transport at the plasma membrane of higher plant cells. Physiologia Plantarum, vol. 79, pp. 490. 1990
  10. Y. Y. Liu, C. U. T. Hellen, J. I. Cooper, D. J. Bertioli, D. Coates and G. Bauer, The Nucleotide-Sequence of a Satellite RNA Associated With Arabis Mosaic Nepovirus. Journal of General Virology, vol. 71, pp. 1259-1263. 1990
  11. Y. Y. Liu, J. I. Cooper, D. Coates and G. Bauer, Biologically-Active Transcripts of a Large Satellite RNA From Arabis Mosaic Nepovirus and the Importance of 5' End Sequences For Its Replication. Journal of General Virology, vol. 72, pp. 2867-2874. 1991
  12. M. J. Cornell, D. Coates and R. E. Isaac, Characterisation of putative Drosophila angiotensin converting enzyme. Biochemical Society Transactions, vol. 21, pp. 243S. 1993
  13. S. Crossland, D. Coates, J. Grahame and P. J. Mill, Use Of Random Amplified Polymorphic DNAs (RAPDS) In Separating 2 Sibling Species Of Littorina. Marine Ecology-Progress Series, vol. 96, pp. 301-305. 1993
  14. J. M. Boyce, D. Coates, M. D. Fricker and D. E. Evans, Genomic Sequence Of a Calnexin Homolog From Arabidopsis Thaliana. Plant Physiology, vol. 106, pp. 1691-­1691. 1994
  15. M. J. Cornell, T. A. Williams, N. S. Lamango, D. Coates, P. Corvol, F. Soubrier, J. Hoheisel, H. Lehrach and R. E. Isaac, Cloning and Expression of an Evolutionary Conserved Single-Domain Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme From Drosophila­ Melanogaster. Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 270, pp. 13613-13619. 1995
  16. C. D. Knight, A. Sehgal, K. Atwal, J. C. Wallace, D. J. Cove, D. Coates, R. S. Quatrano, S. Bahadur, P. G. Stockley and A. C. Cuming, Molecular Responses to Abscisic-Acid and Stress Are Conserved Between Moss and Cereals. Plant Cell, vol. 7, pp. 499-506. 1995
  17. E. S. G. Canning, M. J. Penrose, I. Barker and D. Coates, lmproved detection of barley yellow dwarf virus in single aphids using RT-PCR. Journal Of Virological Methods, vol. 56, pp. 191-197. 1996
  18. R. E. Isaac, D. Macgregor and D. Coates, Metabolism and inactivation of neurotransmitters in nematodes. Parasitology, vol. 113, pp. S157-S173. 1996
  19. D. J. Meyer, R. Muimo, M. Thomas, D. Coates and R. E. Isaac, Purification and characterization of prostaglandin-H E-isomerase, a sigma-class glutathione S ­transferase, from Ascaridia galli. Biochemical Journal, vol. 313, pp. 223-227. 1996
  20. C. A. M. Taylor, D. Coates and A. D. Shirras, The Acer gene of Drosophila codes for an angiotensin-converting enzyme homologue. Gene, vol. 181, pp. 191-197. 1996
  21. D. Coates, D. A. Briggs, D. Macgregor, A. S. Lynch, L. F. Kolakowski, I. A. Hope and R. E. Isaac, Characterisation of ZK643-3: a putative TTM neuropeptide receptor. Biochemical Society Transactions, vol. 25, pp. 440S. 1997
  22. R. E. Isaac, T. A. Williams, M. Sajid, P. Corvol and D. Coates, Cleavage of arginyl-­arginine and Iysyl-arginine from the C-terminus of pro-hormone peptides by human germinal angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) and the C-domain of human somatic ACE. Biochemical Journal, vol. 328, pp. 587-591. 1997
  23. X. Houard, T. A. Williams, A. Michaud, P. Dani, R. E. Isaac, A. D. Shirras, D. Coates and P. Corvol, The Drosophila melanogaster-relcied angiotensin-I-converting enzymes Acerand Ance - Distinct enzymic characteristics and alternative expression during pupal development. European Journal Of Biochemistry, vol. 257, pp. 599-606. 1998
  24. R. E. Isaac, L. Schoofs, T. A. Williams, D. Veelaert, M. Sajid, P. Corvol and D. Coates, A novel peptide-processing activity of insect peptidyl-dipeptidase A (angiotensin I-converting enzyme): the hydrolysis of Iysyl-arginine and arginyl-­arginine from the C-terminus of an insect prohormone peptide. Biochemical Journal, vol. 330, pp. 61-65. 1998
  25. U. Ekbote, D. Coates and R. E. Isaac, A mosquito (Anopheles stephensi) angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) is induced by a blood meal and accumulates in the developing ovary. FEBS Letters, vol. 455, pp. 219-222. 1999
  26. R. E. Isaac, A. Michaud, J. N. Keen, T. A. Williams, D. Coates, W. C. Wetsel and P. Corvol, Hydrolysis by somatic angiotensin-I converting enzyme of basic dipeptides from a cholecystokinin gastrin and a LH-RH peptide extended at the C-terminus with Gly-Arg/Lys-Arg, but not from diarginyl insulin. European Journal of Biochemistry, vol. 262, pp. 569-574. 1999
  27. J. Lee, R. E. Isaac and D. Coates, The construction of a cDNA expression library for the sheep scab mite Psoroptes ovis. Veterinary Parasitology, vol. 83, pp. 241-252. 1999
  28. D. Coates, R. E. Isaac, J. Cotton, R. Siviter, T. A. Williams, A. Shirras, P. Corvol and V. Dive, Functional conservation of the active sites of human and Drosophila angiotensin I-converting enzyme. Biochemistry, vol. 39, pp. 8963-8969. 2000
  29. G. M. Rubin, M. D. Yandell, J. R. Wortman, G. L. G. Miklos, C. R. Nelson, I. K. Hariharan, M. E. Fortini, P. W. Li, R. Apweiler, W. Fleischmann, J. M. Cherry, S. Henikoff, M. P. Skupski, S. Misra, M. Ashburner, E. Birney, M. S. Boguski, T. Brody, P. Brokstein, S. E. Celniker, S. A. Chervitz, D. Coates, A. Cravchik, A. Gabrielian, R. F. Galle, W. M. Gelbart, R. A. George, L. S. B. Goldstein, F. C. Gong, P. Guan, N. L. Harris, B. A. Hay, R. A. Hoskins, J. Y. Li, Z. Y. Li, R. O. Hynes, S. J. M. Jones, P. M. Kuehl, B. Lemaitre, J. T. Littleton, D. K. Morrison, C. Mungall, P. H. O'Farrell, O. K. Pickeral, C. Shue, L. B. Vosshall, J. Zhang, Q. Zhao, X. Q. H. Zheng, F. Zhong, W. Y. Zhong, R. Gibbs, J. C. Venter, M. D. Adams and S. Lewis, Comparative genomics of the eukaryotes. Science, vol. 287, pp. 2204-2215. 2000
  30. R. J. Siviter, G. M. Coast, A. M. E. Winther, R. J. Nachman, C. A. M. Taylor, A. D. Shirras, D. Coates, R. E. Isaac and D. R. Nassel, Expression and functional characterization of a Drosophila neuropeptide precursor with homology to mammalian preprotachykinin A. Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 275, pp. 23273-­23280. 2000
  31. V. Laurent, D.R. Brooks, D. Coates, R.E. Isaac, Functional expression and characterization of the cytoplasmic aminopeptidase P of Caenorhabditis elegans. European Journal Of Biochemistry, vol. 268, pp. 5430-5438. 2001
  32. A.J. Turner, R.E Isaac, D. Coates, The neprilysin (NEP) family of zinc metalloendopeptidases: genomics and function. Bioessays vol. 23, pp. 261-269. 2001
  33. A.J. Lee, J. Huntley, A. Van den Broek, D. Coates, Isaac, RE., Expression and characterisation of a Psoroptes ovis glutathione S-transferase. Veterinary Parasitology, vol. 105, pp. 49-63. 2002
  34. J. Korimbocus, D. Coates, I. Barker and N. Boonham. Improved detection of Sugarcane yellow leaf virus using a real-time fluorescent (TaqMan) RT-PCR assay. Journal of Virological Methods 103(2): 109-120. 2002
  35. J. Korimbocus, S. Preston, C. Danks, I. Barker, D. Coates and N. Boonham. Production of monoclonal antibodies to sugarcane yellow leaf virus using recombinant readthrough protein. Journal of Phytopathology-Phytopathologische Zeitschrift 150(8-9): 488-494. 2002
  36. K. Levi, J. L. Higham, D. Coates and P. F. Hamlyn. "Molecular detection of anthrax spores on animal fibres." Letters in Applied Microbiology 36: 1-5. 2003
  37. P.J. Appleford, M. Griffiths, S.Y.M. Yao, A.M.L. Ng, E.G. Chorney, RE. Isaac, D. Coates, I.A. Hope, C.E. Cass, J.D. Young, S.A. Baldwin. Functional Redundancy of two nucleoside transporters of the ENT family (CeENT1, CeENT2) required for development of Caenorhabditis elegans. Molecular Membrane Biology 21(4): 247­-259. 2004
  38. E. Steel, I. Barker, C. Danks, D. Coates, N. Boonham. A. tumefaciens-mediated transient expression as a tool for antigen production for cucurbit yellow stunting disorder virus. Journal of Virological Methods 163: 222-228. 2010


Other significant contributions to journals

  1. D. Coates and B. Shorrocks, The release of genetically modified flies into the environment. The Genetic Engineer and Biotechnologist, vol. 12, pp. 9-11. 1992

Conference contributions

Not included are titles of posters from conferences otherwise unpublished -especially for work in C.elegans, posters at the International Meetings are considered privileged communications, and are not published except as Abstracts at the conference.

  1. Brewer, N., Booth, D., Morris, L. and Coates.D. Widening access to HE in partnership with FE Colleges: Supporting, developing and enabling students to succeed from disadvantaged backgrounds and make successful transitions International Conference on Enhancement and Innovation in Higher Education, Glasgow 2015 pp42-49
  2. Booth, D., Brewer, N., Morris, L. and Coates, D. Guiding students onto a successful undergraduate path. Are we taking the route through the “mole”-hill or are we climbing the mountain? International Conference on Enhancement and Innovation in Higher Education, Glasgow 2015 pp720-731

Research reports

  1. C. M. Henry, I. Barker, M. Pratt, A. W. Pemberton, M. J. Farmer, J. Cotten, D. Ebbels, D. Coates and R Stratford. Risks associated with the use of genetically modified virus tolerant plants., MAFF, 1995

Research reviews

  1. A.J Turner, R E. Isaac and D. Coates .The neprilysin (NEP) family of zinc metalloendopeptidases: genomics and function. Bioessays 23(3): 261-269. 2001.
  2. D. Coates, The angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology 35(6): 769-773. 2003


I am the chair of the Royal Society of Biology Accreditation Committee, which encourages curriculum development for employability in the biological sciences across the UK; I also work with Skills Development Scotland, encouraging Scottish Universities to develop their life sciences curriculum to favour skills as well as knowledge; and I chair the Advisory Council for Diabetes UK in Scotland; I am a reviewer for the next round of Enhancement-Led Institutional Review (ELIR) of Scottish Universities, and the External Examiner fort the Biochemistry degree at Hong Kong University..

What I Teach

For most of my time in University, I have taught laboratory classes, largely in genetics and molecular approaches to research; and creative thinking: Biology is a practical science that needs research, field and laboratory skills to really appreciate how amazing life is; so I continue to do that at level 3 – practicals shouldn’t just be about following a recipe, but about finding things out – that sometimes means things go horribly wrong, but hey! Then you learn new stuff! Key to success is creative ways of solving problems.

  • BS32011         Practical Project A
  • BS32012         Practical Project B
  • Creativity Levels 1 and 4

Where I Come From

My first degree is in genetics (Leeds, 1978), followed by a doctorate in plant molecular biology (East Anglia, 1983), where I developed further my interest in evolution, specifically of plastids (look it up!). After a stint in the US, I came back to the UK as a Demonstrator at Oxford, where I started developing my interest in learning and teaching on University programmes. Most of my academic career so far has been at the University of Leeds, where I had a very traditional teaching/research role, doing work and teaching in the area of plant virology and diagnostics, and genome analysis of zinc-metalloproteases in the model organisms. After a managerial stint as Dean of Life Sciences in Bradford, I moved to Dundee to work with the School of Life Sciences to redevelop the degrees in Life Sciences – making them more relevant to the strengths of the School, and more focussed on making sure that what we teach translates into influential roles after your graduation.