I am a postgraduate research student at Durham University. I started working with C. elegans worms 3 years ago, in my final year of my undergraduate degree. I was lucky enough to have a very ambitious supervisor- David Weinkove, who gave me a very exciting project that has not been tried before. Our collaborator William Harnett at the University of Strathclyde has discovered a protein called ES-62 that might bring relief to patients suffering from autoimmune diseases such as asthma, allergies and rheumatoid arthritis- but there’s a problem. ES-62 is produced in a parasitic worm that lives in ticks which then transmit it to rodents to complete its life cycle. This makes production of the tiniest amounts of protein slow, expensive and difficult, and uses laboratory animals. We have evidence that we can make ES-62 in another nematode worm called C. elegans that can be cultured easily, and without a host. The success of this project would allow us to make a lot of ES-62, accelerating research into new therapies. We could make proteins from human parasites, which may work even better in treatment of autoimmune diseases. Further applications include better understanding of other parasitic nematodes. Our initial results are promising but we need funding from Thinkable to produce the evidence that will convince government and industry to give us the backing we need to make this work.