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Lauren Sumner-Rooney

Lauren Sumner-Rooney - PhD student

BA (Hons) Biological Sciences (1st Class) – University of Oxford, 2012


Research Interests

My research focusses on sensory systems in deep-sea invertebrates. Currently, I am investigating the function of a novel sensory organ in chitons (Mollusca, Polyplacophora). By using a combination of microscopic techniques, electrophysiology, behavioural experiments and molecular biology, my aim is to discover the role of this sensory organ, and ultimately to learn more about its evolution and development. As part of my PhD I will also be studying other sensory systems in both the Mollusca and the Echinodermata. An understanding of such systems has profound implications for many other aspects of the biology of these animals, such as their evolution, ecology, and potential reactions to anthropogenic stresses, and yet they remain largely under-studied in non-arthropod invertebrate taxa.



Sigwart JD, Sumner-Rooney LH, Schwabe E, Heß M, Brennan GP, Schrödl M. 2014. A new sensory organ in "primitive" molluscs (Polyplacophora: Lepidopleurida) and its context in the nervous system of chitons. Frontiers in Zoology. 11:7.

Sumner-Rooney LH, Cain SD, Brennan GP, Sigwart JD. 2014. A test for mucus removal in the chiton Lepidochitona cinerea (Linnaeus, 1767) (Polyplacophora: Chitonida: Ischnochitonidae). The Veliger. 51:4.



Research Grants

2013 – Research Award (£1,500, Malacological Society of London)

2012 – PhD Funding Award (Dept. of Education and Learning, Northern Ireland)


2013 – William and Betty MacQuitty Scholarship (£1,000, William and Betty MacQuitty Fund)

2013 – Travel Award (£500, Malacological Society of London)

2011 – Laboratory Studentship (£375, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford)

2011 – Travel Grant (£500, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford)


2013 – Runner-up for Best Oral Presentation at the 10th Annual MBA Postgraduate Conference, Aberystwyth.

2012 – Gibbs Prize in Biological Sciences (University of Oxford).


Professional Experience

Member of the Professor Alex Rogers research group (Department of Zoology, University of Oxford), studying the feeding habits of the teleost fish Beryx decadactylis (July 2011).

Member of the Professor Allan Bradley research group (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge), investigating the potential of genetic modification in mouse embryonic stem cells in collaborative work between the Sanger Institute and Kymab (July-Aug 2010).


Contact Information

Tel:  +44 (0)28 427 28230 (Ext.240)

Mobile: +44 (0)7762 286 236


Room: Queen's University Marine Laboratory, Portaferry - 02004

Contact Information

Queen's University Marine Laboratory (QML)
12-13 The Strand, Portaferry
Co. Down, Northern Ireland, BT22 1PF
Phone: +44 (0)28 427 28230

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