Phone: 024 765 74678
Opportunities in the group
I am recruiting a senior research technician with experience in molecular biology, protein biochemistry, or virology. Position advertised soon.
RNA viruses are a vast group of viruses that infect humans, animals, and plants. Each year, these viruses cause regional epidemics and, at times, large global pandemics. Well-known RNA viruses include the influenza virus, the measles virus, and the Ebola virus. My research focuses on the function of a viral enzyme called the polymerase. The polymerase is particularly important in the lifecycle of the virus as it produces viral mRNA and new copies of viral RNA. In my research group, we employ techniques across scale from atoms to cells to understand the intricate detail of these small molecular machines. By understanding the details of these processes, we aim to develop new antiviral compounds.
Research: Technical Summary
The lab studies essential stages of the lifecycle of segmented and non-segment negative sense RNA viruses. Early in infection RNA viruses perform transcription to produce viral mRNA, while late in infection the viruses produce new copies of genomic RNA. These processes are performed by a large viral protein called the polymerase whose activity is regulated by viral and host proteins. The conservation of the polymerase function and interactions makes the polymerase an attractive target for therapeutic development. At the moment our research investigates influenza virus, members of the large bunyavirus family (Hantavirus), and bornaviruses.
In the lab we use cryoEM as our technique of choice, owing to the large and flexible nature of our samples. These samples are complexes of polymerase and viral RNA that allow us to recreate discrete steps in replication or transcription. We make use of cryoEM facilities in Oxford, Leicester, and at the national facility at EBIC. These structural studies are complimented with in vitro and mini-replicon functional assays. Future work in the lab is focused towards drug screening and using cryotomography to understanding these complicated processes in context of a native infection.
- 2023-present Assistant Professor, University of Warwick, UK, 2023-present
- 2017-2023 Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Oxford, UK
- 2014-2017 Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Auckland, NZ
- 2011-2014 PhD, University of Canterbury, NZ