Faculty of Biological Sciences

Understanding the molecular basis of replication and pathogenesis of important human and animal viruses.

Virology research within FBS aims to understand how important human and animal viruses cause disease. To achieve this goal, our research has two main themes: firstly, determining mechanisms of virus genome replication and assembly, and secondly, understanding how viruses interact with the host cell in order to both facilitate their replication and ensure persistence. We use a range of complementary techniques from cell biology through to structural biology, including proteomics and high-throughput sequencing approaches, to address our research questions. An emerging theme is the pursuit of new strategies for the prevention and therapy of viral infections. In this regard we are exploiting structure based drug design as a rational approach to the development of novel antiviral chemotherapeutics in collaboration with the Structural Molecular Biology group, the Astbury Centre and colleagues in the School of Chemistry. Additionally, we are designing and evaluating novel vaccine strategies supported by major grant funding for poliovirus and FMDV (Stonehouse and Rowlands – funding from the Gates Foundation, BBSRC and EU FP7).

Recent research highlights include the identification of important virus-host interactions implicated in pathogenesis and persistence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) (Harris and Mankouri), key insights into reactivation of Kaposi’s sarcoma herpesvirus (Whitehouse), the identification of the ion channel activity of the human papillomavirus (HPV) E5 protein (Macdonald), and determination of the structure of bunyavirus nucleocapsid proteins (Barr and Edwards).

Key researchers in this area

  • Virology
  • Prof Alison Ashcroft, Professor in Biomolecular Mass Spectrometry
    Mass spectrometry, Mass Spectrometry Facility Manager
    Research interests
  • Dr John Barr, Lecturer
    Structural Biology, Viral gene expression
    Research interests
  • Prof G Eric Blair, Professor in Molecular and Cellular Biology
    Research interests
  • Dr Thomas Edwards, Associate Professor
    Structural Biology, RNA:Protein Interactions, Molecular Control of Embryogenesis
    Research interests
  • Dr Juan Fontana, University Academic Fellowship in Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy
    Structural characterization of viruses
    Research interests
  • Prof Mark Harris, Professor of Virology
    Virus-host interactions in hepatitis C virus and HIV-1 Virus-host interactions in hepatitis C virus and HIV-1
    Research interests
  • Dr Brian Jackson, Research Facility Manager for Protein Production
    A link between mRNA export factors, genome instability and human cancer
    Research interests
  • Dr Andrew Macdonald, Associate Professor in Virology
    Transformation and immune evasion strategies of DNA tumour viruses
    Research interests
  • Dr Jamel Mankouri, Royal Society University Research Fellow / University Academic Fellow
    Virology, ion channels, cell biology, trafficking
    Research interests
  • Prof Neil Ranson, Professor
    Cryo-EM; Image Processing; Macromolecular structure
    Research interests
  • Prof David Rowlands, Emeritus Professor of Molecular Virology
    Replication of positive strand RNA viruses
    Research interests
  • Prof Peter Stockley, Professor of Biological Chemistry
    Self-assembling systems: Protein-nucleic acid regulatory complexes; molecular recognition; gene expression; bionanoscience
    Research interests
  • Prof Nicola Stonehouse, Professor of Molecular Virology
    Viral replication and assembly
    Research interests
  • Dr Roman Tuma, Reader in Structural Biology
    Virus, self-assembly, molecular motors, optical tweezers
    Research interests
  • Dr Andrew Tuplin, Lecturer in Molecular and Cellular Biology
    Control of RNA virus genome replication and translation via interactions between RNA structures, host cell proteins and non-coding RNA.
    Research interests
  • Prof Adrian Whitehouse, Professor of Molecular Virology
    Viruses and Cancer
    Research interests