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Professor Keith Leppard

Job Title
Life Sciences
+44 (0)2476523579
Research Interests

**NEW PUBLICATION** PML-II regulates ERK and AKT signal activation and IFN?-induced cell death (2021) Xueqiong Meng et al in Cell Communication and Signaling free full text
My research group studies various aspects of adenovirus cell and molecular biology. Our current research aims are:

  • to understand the interactions of adenovirus with its host cell at the molecular level, particularly the innate responses of the cell to infection
  • to gain insight into the relationship between cellular stress responses and infection
  • to understand how adenovirus late gene expression is controlled in productive infections and reactivation from latency in lymphoid cells
  • to use our knowledge of adenoviruses to generated improved adenovirus vectors for gene therapy and recombinant vaccine delivery

More detailed descriptions of our work are available on my Research Page.

or, for a explanation of our work without the detail and jargon, view my Research for a General Audience page.

View a list of my older publications (pdf)


After gaining my first degree in Biochemistry from Oxford, U.K., I began my research career studying for a PhD with Dr Lionel Crawford, working in the labs of what was then the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) at Lincolns Inn Fields, London. This work focused on the then newly discovered cellular tumour suppressor protein, p53, which was being studied in the context of SV40 infection. From there I moved to a postdoctoral position with Prof Tom Shenk, first at SUNY Stony Brook and then at Princeton. There I learned the adenovirus genetic system that I have worked on ever since. I left Princeton in 1988 to take up a lectureship in the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, where I became Professor in 2018, moving to Emeritus status in September 2021.

I have a broad interest in adenovirus molecular and cell biology and my work has made several major contributions to this field. A particular focus has been the functions of the proteins encoded by the viral E1B and E4 genes, and most recently the L4 gene, in controlling viral gene expression and the biology of the host cell. My studies of E4 proteins have led me into a exploring the diversity and function of host cell PML proteins. These proteins are crucial in many aspects of cell function, particularly the innate immune response. A further significant strand of recent work has been in the development of adenovirus as a vector for gene delivery.

I have co-authored a successful undergraduate textbook, Introduction to Modern Virology, with Prof. Nigel Dimmock and Prof. Andrew Easton.

Title Funder Award start Award end
Defining and exploiting the role of PML protein in innate immune responses to pathogens - MRC Research Grant MRC 01 Aug 2017 30 Jun 2021
Understanding and re-engineering adenovirus late gene expression: controlling the gatekeeper to productive infection Wellcome Trust 01 Jun 2011 18 Dec 2014
Comparison of the adenovirus early to late transition in epithelial and lymphoid cells Society for General Microbiology 28 Jul 2014 15 Sep 2014
Evaluating the gene delivery potential E1, L4 - deficient adenovirus vectors, BBSRC 16 Jan 2007 15 Jan 2010
Generation and Characterisation of L4 - Deleted Adenovirus Society for General Microbiology 29 Jun 2009 02 Oct 2009
Development of Novel Complementation Systems for Highly Deleted Adenovirus Vectors BBSRC 01 Feb 2004 28 Feb 2007

Research Themes:

Biomedical Science

PML proteins and inflammation project

Project research page

Virology Teaching:

IntroModernVir 7th edn cover

Authored at Warwick with Andrew Easton and Nigel Dimmock

Introduction to Modern Virology 7th edn 2016Link opens in a new window


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