Virology

The School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine is investigating viruses that cause diseases in humans in order to devise new ways to control infection through the development of vaccines, antiviral drugs and therapies.

Both RNA and DNA viruses are being studied including the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 (Davidson, Matthews and Yamauchi). We also work on the closely related MERS-CoV virus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and is also highly lethal (Davidson and Matthews). And we have also worked on severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the past (Davidson). 

In addition to our work on human coronaviruses, we work on dengue virus which is an arthropod-borne flavivirus that causes dengue fever (Davidson). Other respiratory viruses including influenza A virus are being studied to understand the mechanisms of host cell entry and virus-host interactions (Yamauchi). 

Work is also going on to understand how other respiratory viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus and adenoviruses interfere with cellular systems in the nucleus of the infected cellThis work has also been used to develop integrated methods to study the transcriptome and proteome of living cells and the viruses that infect them (Matthews). 

The molecular and cellular biology of these viruses are being investigated and, in particular, the way that they interact with the host immune response. Research spans genetic, molecular and cellular systems and includes state-of-the-art high throughput quantitative proteomics and deep sequencing approaches to analyse the host response to viral infection in a holistic fashion. 

This information is being used to devise new ways to control infection. This includes the development of vaccines that prevent virus infection in the first place, antiviral drugs that prevent replication of the virus after infection has taken place, and therapies that aim to contain the consequences of virus infection, for example, autoimmune reactions or cancer cells that proliferate uncontrollably. 

Virology is well funded and has excellent new research facilities. We aim to provide a challenging and comprehensive training to both undergraduate and graduate students and a stimulating atmosphere in which to conduct first-class, internationally competitive research that will have an impact upon both human and animal health.

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