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Division of Microbiology and Infection Seminar

5 February 2014, 12pm-1pm, GLT4, Warwick Medical School Building, University of Warwick

Title: Varicella through the bottleneck and what we found there (with apologies to Lewis Carroll)

Speaker: Professor Judy Breuer, Professor of Virology (Honorary Consultant),MRC/UCL Centre for Medical Molecular Virology, UCL Division of Infection & Immunity


Varicella zoster virus causes chickenpox, persisting latently in nerve ganglia following which it reactivates to cause shingles in approximately 25% of individuals. A live attenuated vaccine strain vOka is licensed for prevention of varicella in children. Approximately 5% of vaccinees develop a rash, which can either occur in the days and weeks following vaccination (varicella – like) or months to years later following reactivation from latency (shingles). We have developed methods that can sequence whole viral genomes from clinical material and used these to examine the evolution of VZv in its natural host. The results provide an insight into the pathogenesis of VZV for which there is no animal model of infection available


judy breuer

Judy Breuer is Professor of Virology Head of the Division of Infection and Immunity, University College London and Consultant in Clinical Virology at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. Her research has focussed on latent viruses including Varicella zoster virus and human papillomavirus. Professor Breuer is head of the pathogen sequencing programme in the MRC Centre for Molecular Medical Virology at UCL.