Professor Richard Jenkins

Job: Professor / Faculty Head of Research

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Allied Health Sciences

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: +44 (0)116-2577942

E: roj@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/hls

 

Personal profile

Professor Jenkins holds a first class degree in microbiology with biochemistry and a PhD in yeast physiology. His postdoctoral research was with Professor Sir Howard Dalton at the University of Warwick, investigating microbial biotransformations of aromatic hydrocarbons. Since joining De Montfort University he has pursued various research interests involving the interaction of microbiological systems with chemicals, eg antimony and arsenic compounds, chlorinated ethylenes, chemical dyes.

His other research interests include the interaction of microbes with man-made environments, the toxic action of certain metabolic poisons, and human exposure to toxic metals through the food chain (see below for further details). Such studies have led to significant findings in diverse fields: from infant cot death and toxicology to biogeochemistry and industrial biotechnology.

Funding for his research has been from a wide range of sources, including: three UK Research Councils (BBSRC, EPSRC, NERC); EU (FP5&6); NATO; Cot Death Charities; British Council; US Department of State Bio Industry Initiative; UK Water Industry. He has published over 170 refereed journal articles and books/book chapters, and more that 120 conference papers/abstracts.

He is currently an associated editor for the Journal of Biological Education (Society for Biology; Routledge) and for Applied Organometallic Chemistry (Wiley-Blackwell), and serves on the editorial board of three other international journals.

Research group affiliations

Biomedical & Environmental Health Research Group

Publications and outputs 

  • Rational in silico design of aptamers for organophosphates based on the example of paraoxon
    Rational in silico design of aptamers for organophosphates based on the example of paraoxon Belinskaia, D. A.; Avdonin, P. V.; Avdonin, P. P.; Jenkins, R. O.; Goncharov, Nikolay V. Poisoning by organophosphates (OPs) takes one of the leading places in the total number of exotoxicoses. Detoxication of OPs at the first stage of the poison entering the body could be achieved with the help of DNA- or RNA-aptamers, which are able to bind poisons in the bloodstream. The aim of the research was to develop an approach to rational in silico design of aptamers for OPs based on the example of paraoxon. From the published sequence of an aptamer binding organophosphorus pesticides, its threedimensional model has been constructed. The most probable binding site for paraoxon was determined by molecular docking and molecular dynamics (MD) methods. Then the nucleotides of the binding site were mutated consequently and the values of free binding energy have been calculated using MD trajectories and MM-PBSA approach. On the basis of the energy values, two sequences that bind paraoxon most efficiently have been selected. The value of free binding energy of paraoxon with peripheral anionic site of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) has been calculated as well. It has been revealed that the aptamers found bind paraoxon more effectively than AChE. The peculiarities of paraoxon interaction with the aptamers nucleotides have been analyzed. The possibility of improving in silico approach for aptamer selection is discussed. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • From Ward to Washer: The Survival of Clostridium difficile spores on Hospital Bedsheets through a Commercial UK NHS Healthcare Laundry Process
    From Ward to Washer: The Survival of Clostridium difficile spores on Hospital Bedsheets through a Commercial UK NHS Healthcare Laundry Process Jenkins, R. O.; Laird, Katie; Tarrant, Joanna Objective: to quantify the survival of Clostridium difficile spores on hospital bedsheets through the UK NHS healthcare laundry process (Health Technical Memorandum (HTM) 01-04) in vitro and from C. difficile patient’s bedsheet through the commercial laundry. Methods: C. difficile spores were inoculated onto cotton sheets and laundered through a simulated Washer Extractor (WE) cycle using an Industrial bleach detergent with Sodium Hypochlorite 15%and peracetic acid sour 14% (Acetic acid and Hydrogen peroxide, pH 2-4 ). C. difficile naturally contaminated hospital sheets survival was also assessed through a WE, drying and finishing cycle at a commercial laundry. Patients: Naturally contaminated C. difficile bedsheets were taken from patients’ beds that had previously been diagnosed with C. difficile infection (CDI) and were on an isolated C. difficile ward. Results: The simulated WE cycle, with an industrial detergent, demonstrated survival of two strains of C. difficile NCTC 11209 (0-4 cfu/25cm2) and ribotype 001/072 (0-9 cfu/25cm2). Before laundering naturally contaminated bedsheets had an average spore load of 51 cfu/25cm2 and after washing, drying and finishing it was 33 cfu/25cm2, pre and post wash the C. difficile strain was identified as ribotype 001/072. Both the simulated and in situ laundering process failed the microbiological standards of no pathogenic bacteria. Conclusions: This study shows that C. difficile spores are able to survive laundering through a commercial WE and may be contributing to sporadic outbreaks of CDI. Further research to establish exposure of laundry workers, patients and the hospital environment to C. difficile spores from bedsheets is required. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.
  • A multi-faceted approach to determining the efficacy of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles against bacterial biofilms
    A multi-faceted approach to determining the efficacy of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles against bacterial biofilms Tejpal, Jyoti; Cross, R. B. M.; Owen, Lucy; Paul, Shashi; Jenkins, R. O.; Armitage, David; Laird, Katie Antibacterial efficacy of nanoscale silver, copper (II) oxide and zinc oxide were assessed against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus biofilms in solution and on surfaces. Using a Center for Disease Control biofilm reactor, minimum biofilm reduction concentrations, the coefficient of determination (R2) and log(10) reductions were determined. Atomic absorption spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy and confocal laser scanning microscopy were used to assess the disruption of the biofilms. The efficacy of thin films of zinc oxide and silver deposited via magnetron sputtering and thermal evaporation respectively was also assessed. Minimum biofilm reduction concentrations of zinc oxide or silver nanoparticles were 256 or 50 µg/ml for P. aeruginosa and 16 or50 µg/ml for S. aureus respectively. When tested in combination the nanoparticles concentrations were at least halved resulting in significant (p ≤0.05) biofilm reductions of 3.77 log(10) - 3.91 log(10). Biofilm growth on thin films resulted in reductions of up to 1.82 log(10). The results suggest that nanoparticle suspensions and thin films of zinc oxide and may have potential as antimicrobial treatments for hard to eliminate biofilms in a clinical environment.
  • Conversion of landfill composite to activated carbon to improve landfill sustainability
    Conversion of landfill composite to activated carbon to improve landfill sustainability Adelopo, A. O.; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.); Alo, B.; Huddersman, Katherine; Jenkins, R. O. Landfills’ heterogeneous composites waste were evaluated as precursors for generation of activated carbon (AC). A single step chemical activation process was applied involving irradiation with microwave energy and impregnation with KOH. The average percentage yield of AC from active landfill precursor was higher than that from closed landfill for all depths sampled. Increase in impregnation ratio and irradiation power decreased the average percentage yield for both landfill precursors (Active: 38.1 to 33.1%) (Closed 42.1: to 33.3%). The optimum pH range for adsorption of methylene blue was pH 6-7, while adsorption increased with increase in temperature over the range 30 to 50oC. Carbonyl and hydroxyl groups were the major functional groups on the surface of AC. The properties of the AC are potentially suitable for the removal of cationic dyes and pollutants. AC generated from the landfill composite were comparable to that from some other biomass being managed through AC generation. This is the first report to demonstrate the possible reuse of landfill composite as AC. The reuse option of landfill composite could provide a means of sustainable management of landfilled municipal waste. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Extending the geographic reach of the water hyacinth plant in removal of heavy metals from a temperate Northern Hemisphere river
    Extending the geographic reach of the water hyacinth plant in removal of heavy metals from a temperate Northern Hemisphere river Jones, J. L.; Jenkins, R. O.; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.) Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) has been used for environmentally sustainable phytoremediation of water, though its use has been geographically restricted. For the first time we extend its geographical reach by investigating its potential for clean-up of water from a highly polluted British river (Nant-YFendrod, a tributary of the River Tawe). Investigations using the plant were conducted at three levels: a bench-scale study using polluted river water and synthetic solutions; an in-situ trial using water hyacinth within the Nant-Y-Fendrod; and a bankside trial to pump and treat river water. The removal of the largest number of heavy metals (21) from water in a single study using ICP-MS is reported, including Sb, for the first time. Results are promising, with bench-scale tests demonstrating up to 63% removal of Al, 62% Zn, 47% Cd, 22% Mn and 23% As, during just seven hours exposure to the plant. When extended to three weeks exposure, removal is evident in the order Al > Cd > Zn > Mn > Ni > As > V. Furthermore, in-situ mean removal of 6%, 11% and 15% of Mn, Zn and Cd respectively is demonstrated. As the world learns to adapt to climate change, studies of the type reported here are needed to exploit the remarkable phytoremediation potential of water hyacinth. open access article
  • Effects of exposure of rat erythrocytes to a hypogeomagnetic field
    Effects of exposure of rat erythrocytes to a hypogeomagnetic field Nadeev, A.D.; Terpilowski, M.A.; Bogdanov, V.A.; Khmelevskoy, D.A.; Schegolev, B.F.; Surma, S.V.; Stefanov, V.E.; Goncharov, Nikolay V.; Jenkins, R. O. Background:Hypomagnetic fields can disrupts the normal functioning of living organisms by a mechanism thought to involve oxidative stress. In erythrocytes, oxidative stress can inter alia lead to changes to hemoglobin content and to hemolysis. Objective:To study the effects of hypomagnetism on the state of rat erythrocytes in vitro. Methods:Rat erythrocytes were exposed to an attenuated magnetic field (AMF) or Earth’s magnetic field (EMF), in the presence of tert-butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP) as inducer of oxidative stress. Determinations: total hemoglobin (and its three forms – oxyhemoglobin, methemoglobin, and hemichrome) released from erythrocytes, spectral data (500–700 nm); oxygen radical concentrations, electron paramagnetic resonance. Results:AMF and EMF exposed erythrocytes were compared. After 4 h incubation at high TBHP concentrations (>700 μM), AMF exposed erythrocytes released significantly more (p<0.05) hemoglobin (Hb), mostly as methemoglobin (metHb). Conversely, after 24 h incubation at low TBHP concentrations (⩽350 μM), EMF exposed erythrocytes released significantly more (p<0.001) hemoglobin, with metHb as a significant proportion of the total Hb. Erythrocytes exposed to AMF generated more radicals than those exposed to the EMF. Conclusion:Under particular conditions of oxidative stress, hypomagnetic fields can disrupt the functional state of erythrocytes and promote cell death; an additive effect is implicated. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Multivariate analysis of the effects of age, particle size and landfill depth on heavy metals pollution content of closed and active landfill precursors
    Multivariate analysis of the effects of age, particle size and landfill depth on heavy metals pollution content of closed and active landfill precursors Adelopo, A. O.; Haris, P. I. (Parvez I.); Alo, B.; Huddersman, Katherine; Jenkins, R. O. Multivariate analysis of a heavy metal pollution survey of closed and active landfill precursors was carried out in order to compare environmental risk levels in relation to age, particle size and depth of the precursors. Landfill precursors (77) were collected and analyzed for 15 USEPA toxic heavy metals using ICP-MS. Heavy metals concentrations in closed landfill precursors were significantly higher than those in the active landfill for 11 of 15 heavy metals investigated (closed landfill order: Fe > Al > Mn > Cu > Pb > Ba> Co > Cr > Ni > Cd > As > Se > Ti). Cluster analysis and correlation studies indicated the distribution of the metals was more influenced by landfill precursor size than by depth of the sample. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that 10 of 15 of heavy metals of both landfill precursors were from similar anthropogenic sources. Heavy metals pollution indices (Igeo > 5, EF > 40 and CF > 7) of both active and closed landfill precursors exceeded limits in the order of Zn > Cd > Pb > Cu > Ag, indicating a major potential health risk influenced by age and particle size of precursor. Zn, Cd, Cu and Pb of both landfill precursors exceeded the USEPA set standard for assessment of human health risk for each of the metals (1×10 -4 to 1× 10-3). This study highlights the need for the integration of a clean-up process for precursors from both types of landfill to reduce possible environmental pollution during a reuse process. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • An algorithm for deriving new combinatorial biomarkers based on ridge regression
    An algorithm for deriving new combinatorial biomarkers based on ridge regression Terpilowski, M.A.; Korf, E.A.; Jenkins, R. O.; Goncharov, Nikolay V. Motivation: Combinatorial biomarkers are considered more specific and sensitive than single markers in medical diagnostics and prediction, yet even detection of such these combinatorial biomarkers requires deep computational analysis. The principles of analytic combinatorics, linear and kernel ridge regression, and machine learning were applied to derive new combinatorial biomarkers of muscle damage. Results: Lactate, phosphate, and middle-chain fatty acids were most often included into biochemical combinatorial markers, while the following physiological parameters were found to be prevalent: muscle isometric strength, H-reflex length, and contraction tone. Several strongly correlated combinatorial biomarkers of muscle damage with high prediction accuracy scores were identified. The approach — based on computational methods, regression algorithms and machine learning — provides a flexible, platform independent and highly extendable means of discovery and evaluation of combinatorial biomarkers alongside current diagnostic tools. Availability: The developed algorithm was implemented in Python programming language on a quantitative dataset comprising 23 biochemical parameters, 37 physiological parameters and 3,903 observations. The algorithm and our dataset are available free of charge on GitHub. Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Journal of Bioinformatics and Genomics online.
  • Markers and Biomarkers of Endothelium: When Something Is Rotten in the State
    Markers and Biomarkers of Endothelium: When Something Is Rotten in the State Goncharov, Nikolay V.; Nadeev, A. D.; Jenkins, R. O.; Avdonin, P. V. Endothelium is a community of endothelial cells (ECs), which line the blood and lymphatic vessels, thus forming an interface between the tissues and the blood or lympha. This strategic position of endothelium infers its indispensable functional role in controlling vasoregulation, haemostasis, and inflammation. The state of endothelium is simultaneously the cause and effect of many diseases, and this is coupled with modifications of endothelial phenotype represented by markers and with biochemical profile of blood represented by biomarkers. In this paper, we briefly review data on the functional role of endothelium, give definitions of endothelial markers and biomarkers, touch on the methodological approaches for revealing biomarkers, present an implicit role of endothelium in some toxicological mechanistic studies, and survey the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in modulation of endothelial status. open access article
  • Serum albumin binding and esterase activity: mechanistic interactions with organophosphates
    Serum albumin binding and esterase activity: mechanistic interactions with organophosphates Goncharov, Nikolay V.; Belinskaia, D. A.; Shmurak, V. I.; Terpilowski, M.A.; Jenkins, R. O.; Avdonin, P. V. The albumin molecule, in contrast to many other plasma proteins, is not covered with a carbohydrate moiety and can bind and transport various molecules of endogenous and exogenous origin. The enzymatic activity of albumin, the existence of which many scientists perceive skeptically, is much less studied. In toxicology, understanding the mechanistic interactions of organophosphates with albumin is a special problem, and its solution could help in the development of new types of antidotes. In the present work, the history of the issue is briefly examined, then our in silico data on the interaction of human serum albumin with soman, as well as comparative in silico data of human and bovine serum albumin activities in relation to paraoxon, are presented. Information is given on the substrate specificity of albumin and we consider the possibility of its affiliation to certain classes in the nomenclature of enzymes. open access article

Click here for a full listing of Richard Jenkins's publications and outputs.

Research interests/expertise

  • Microbial biomethylation of metals and metalloids (antimony, arsenic, bismuth etc)
  • Biotransformations of organoarsenic compounds
  • Cot death (SIDS) – prevalence and survival of microbes in the cot environment
  • Toxic metal(loids) in the food chain
  • Toxic action of certain metabolic poisons (eg fluoroacetate, organophosphates)
  • Development of spectroscopic techniques for characterising cells (microbial and human)
Richard Jenkins

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