UCL Division of Infection & Immunity

Athena SWAN Silver Award

Internal Seminar
1pm | 20 Mar | Cruciform LT1

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Research Department of Infection


(Picture; SLMS Profile; Search UCL Publications Database)
Our group studies the epidemiology and significance of HIV variation. A central focus is the evolution of viruses to escape drug pressure, and the manifestation of such viruses, in terms of drug susceptibility and replication capacity. One example is how HIV-1 gag compensates for the fitness loss associated with protease inhibitor resistance, and indeed causes resistance itself. We work with clinical isolates, both within the UK and from developing world -the latter related to rollout of antiretroviral therapy. In addition, we use large HIV-1 sequence databases, in particular that from the UK, to explore the dynamics of viral spread. I co-chair the UK Drug Resistance Database, jointly with the MRC Clinical Trials Unit, and also am coordinator of CHAIN, a large EU funded network of HIV drug resistance (2009-2014).


Research Group: Dr Daniel Depledge, Dr Samit Kundu, Dr Meleri Jones

Location: Cruciform Building

Contact Details: j.breuer@ucl.ac.uk

Our group studies:
Viral determinants of VZV vaccine adverse events.
Using statistical genetic methods, we have identified four single nucleotide polymorphism in the Oka vaccine strain which are selected for in post immunisation rashes.  We are using in vitro skin models to examine VZV replication in epithelial tissues and the putative contribution of the above SNPs and others

VZV evolution and transmission.
Epidemiological, molecular genetic and mathematical modelling tools have been used to track the transmission chains within a single outbreak of chickenpox in Guinea Bissau. the results confirm that VZV household infectivity is profoundly affected by environmental climate, being five times lower in tropical GB than in temperate UK. Population crowding and high levels of mixing can overcome the reduction in infectivity. further studies to examine differences in strain transmission

Viral genetic determinants of disease and spread.
As an extension of the above, my group is now developing methods for recovery and amplification of viral nucleic acid from clinical samples for whole genome sequencing studies.

VZV rash identification programme.
I run the UK VZV reference laboratory which supports identification of rashes post VZv immunisation for the HPA in the the UK and Sanofi Pasteur MSD clinical studies in Europe.
The group has received funding from a number of organisations including MRC, Wellcome and Sanofi Pasteur MSD.


The Cytomegalovirus Research Group is based primarily at the Royal Free Campus and consists of three Principal Investigators; Professor Paul D. Griffiths, Professor Vincent C. Emery  and Dr Richard Milne.

The group has a broad interest in the pathogenesis of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) in immunocompromised hosts and the neonate with a particular focus on translational research.

Current projects:
1. Defining the natural history of HCMV infection using longitudinal studies to identify correlates of protection.
2. Defining prognostic markers to identify patients at risk of CMV infection.
3. Applying novel replication kinetic approaches to optimise antiviral therapy.
4. Using novel virus neutralisation assays to develop a refined model of the role of neutralising antibody in the control and prevention of HCMV replication.
5. Evaluating candidate sub-unit vaccines for HCMV in potential recipients of solid-organ transplants in placebo-controlled randomised trials.
6. Defining the contribution of HCMV infection and the T-cell response to HCMV to the pathogenesis of common variable immune deficiency (CVID). 

Contact Details: Centre for Virology, UCL Medical School, Rowland Hill Street, NW3 2PF. Tel: 020 7830 2997. Fax: 020 7830 2854.


For information about the centre and its Research Team, please click here.


(Professor Greg Towers: SLMS Profile)

Overview: Our lab studies how host virus interactions lead to species-specific replication of retroviruses. We use GFP encoding viruses to follow infection in cell lines and seek host factors that inhibit or facilitate infection. We consider whether these factors exhibit species specificity by cloning and expressing species variants or by reducing their expression using RNA interference. We examine relatedness between factors and consider how they have changed during evolution using phylogenetics and positive selection analyses.

Collaborations: We collaborate with Leo James at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge to apply biophysics and structural techniques to these questions.

Our current research questions are: How do restriction factors TRIM5 and tetherin work and can they prime adaptive immunity? How does HIV-1 avoid pattern recognition and how do uncoating and nuclear entry pathways relate to this? How does attenuated SIV infection lead to vaccination? Are herpes viruses sensitive to restriction factors? We aim to understand the molecular details of host virus interactions with a view to manipulating them therapeutically and designing better vaccines. We are funded by a Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowship and project grants from the Medical Research Council and the UCL Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre.

Page last modified on 27 mar 12 10:42