The Swansea Worm Integrative Research Laboratory (SWIRL) was established by Dr Aidan Seeley, Dr Nia Davies and Prof. Lisa Wallace at the Swansea University Medical School in 2019. Dr Claire Price joined the group as a co-principle investigator in 2022. 


SWIRL was established following reports that UK graduates were lacking in vivo research skills. With increased costs and a lack of trained staff, conventional animal models for education and training are offered by fewer and fewer higher education institutions. SWIRL sought to address this skills gap by developing in vivo research tools which are low-cost and do not require specialised equipment or training. 


Lumbriculus variegatus, or the California Blackworm, is a species of aquatic worm found in shallow ponds, lakes and marshes and has been used extensively as an ecological indicator species. At SWIRL, we are pioneering the use of L. variegatus as a laboratory-reared organism for pharmacology research and education. 

In 2021, we published our proof-of-concept study using L. variegatus and integrated this organism into our teaching at Swansea University Medical School. 


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