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Dr Emma Anderson

Job Title
Associate Professor
Life Sciences
Research Interests

Viruses do not encode their own protein synthesis machinery, but must hijack that of their host cell. Viral mRNAs are vastly outnumbered by cellular mRNAs and therefore many viruses have evolved novel mechanisms to preferentially recruit ribosomes. We are interested in the mechanisms by which retroviruses such as HIV are able to recruit ribosomes to their RNAs at the right time to make the proteins they need for new viral particles.

Due to the compact nature of their genomes, many viruses encode several proteins from one mRNA. We are also interested in the mechanisms that viruses employ to direct translation of different proteins from one RNA molecule.

Understanding of these novel translation mechanisms will not only open up new avenues for treatment of viral infection, but also shed light on cellular protein synthesis. Loss of control of cellular translation has been shown to contribute to diseases such as diabetes and cancer.


After graduating from Oxford in 1997 with a first class degree in Biochemistry, I moved to Cambridge to study for my PhD under the supervision of Professor Richard Jackson. My work on the translation of human rhinovirus RNA was the beginning of my interest in translation mechanisms and viruses. In 2001 I moved to The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA to work as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr Stephen Mayfield on light-regulated translation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. I returned to Cambridge in 2004 to work with Professor Andrew Lever in the Department of Medicine on the regulation of translation of HIV-1. In 2007 I was appointed as an Assistant Professor in Virology at Warwick, where I have continued my interest in translation mechanisms of important viruses such as HIV and influenza.

  • Groom, Harriet C. T., Anderson, Emma C., Lever, Andrew M. L., 2009. Rev: beyond nuclear export. Journal of General Virology, Society for General Microbiology, pp. 1303-1318
Title Funder Award start Award end
Unr - master regulator of mRNA translation BBSRC 01 Jun 2012 31 May 2015
Regulation and translation of HIV type-1 RNA by the viral Gag protein MRC 01 Dec 2008 31 Jan 2012

Research Themes:

Biomedical Science