Professor Diane Kelly

Professor of Microbiology and Infection


Swansea University


Professor in Microbiology and Biotechnology. Professor Kelly has more than 20 years’ experience working within the cytochrome P450 (CYP) field with respect to biodiversity and biotechnology, especially concerning fungal CYPs and sterol biology.

Research Interests

A significant part of research effort has been concerned with the metabolic pathway leading to sterols and within EUROFAN (an EU programme set up within the yeast community in Europe to elucidate the function of all of yeast genes), Diane was invited to be part of the Lipid Node to determine alterations in sterol biosynthesis in gene-disrupted strains. Within the Transatlantic Yeast Gene Deletion Project involving EUROFAN II she was responsible for gene disruptions and strain verification as the UK laboratory involved in this historic project. It was the first time every gene of an organism had been specifically deleted to determine its contribution to viability and readily observable phenotype. The paper in Nature (>1900 citations) is important not only in yeast genetics, but also a paradigm of post-genomic approaches that is now integral to her own research in the area of CYPs.

CYPs are part of a superfamily of as yet unknown size, but in some microorganisms represent over 1% of the genes. Discovering their function is a major task as these are of biotechnological interest for making drugs and in their role as drug targets. Their general function is in cellular biosynthetic reactions such as in fatty acid, steroid and prostaglandin synthesis and in secondary metabolism (natural product synthesis) in plants and microbes. Human cytochromes P450 are of central importance in the metabolism of carcinogens, drugs and pesticides. Present research maintains a focus on CYPs involved in sterol metabolism, defining function for so-called “orphan” genes and studies related to antimicrobial action and antimicrobial drug resistance.

More recently Professor Kelly was invited to lead an international team (Eurofung, FP6) to identify all CYPs present in A. nidulans with the aim of defining function using a bioinformatics approach.

BEACON Activities

  • Chair Swansea Local Management Group
  • Science project design and management

Future Plans

Develop links to:

  • exploit microbial use of biomass to produce chemical entities of use to industry and pharma.



History in the Making College of Medicine Swansea University 10th Anniversary 2004 - 2014