UCL Division of Infection & Immunity

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Wohl Virion Centre

The Centre, made possible thanks to the generous support of The Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation, was opened in February 1999. Originally located in the Windeyer Building, it is now housed in newly refurbished space within the Cruciform Building, Department of Infection. It hosts a high through put screening facility in its cat 3 laboratory.

The Centre is mainly devoted to the study of retroviruses, including HIV, from basic biology to novel drug and vaccine development. It is cited as one of the top AIDS research laboratories worldwide. Researchers in the Centre also investigate host-pathogen interactions, small molecule inhibitors of retrovirus replication, broadly cross-neutralising antibodies, xenotransplantation and new and cheaper diagnostic assays to detect virus infection in patients.

Wohl Virion Centre: Annual report on activities in 2013 (PDF)

Research Staff in the Centre and their research interests are listed below.

Dr Ariberto Fassati

Dr Ariberto Fassati (Head of Wohl Virion Centre, Reader)

  • High through put cell-based screenings of small molecules to identify novel viral-host interactions.
  • Early events in HIV-1 infection.
  • tRNA retrograde transport and mechanisms of nucleocytoplasmic trafficking: we are investigating how large structures such as viruses can go across nuclear pores. The biophysical aspects of this work are performed in collaboration with the UCL London Centre for Nanotechnology.
  • Control of cancer regression using the canine transmissible venereal tumour (CTVT) as a model system. We want to understand genetic and epigenetic changes inducing CTVT regression and test if such changes can be induced in human cancer.
  • Funding: EU FP7 Innovative Medicine Framework, MRC.

Lab members: Dr Alexander Zhyvoloup (Postdoctoral Scientist), Nan-Yu Chen (PhD student).

Dr Clare Jolly

Dr Clare Jolly (MRC Fellow) 
Group Photo

  • The secretory pathway and HIV-1 egress. We are investigating how HIV-1 assembly and budding is directed to sites of cell-cell contact by exploring the concept that HIV-1 may hijack the pathway of regulated secretion from T cells in order to promote efficient viral dissemination.
  • Regulators of cell-to-cell transmission of HIV-1 at Virological Synapses. Current research is aimed at identifying cellular protein and signalling pathways that regulate T cell contact during VS formation.
  • Trafficking of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein. We wish to determine the intracellular itinerary of HIV-1 Env trafficking in virus-infected cells.
  • Funding: MRC Career Development Award and MRC Project Grant.

Lab members: Dr Elisabetta Groppelli (Postdoctoral scientist), Ms Shimona Starling (DPhil student), Dr Alice Len (Postdoctoral scientist).

Image: 3D tomographic model of cell-cell spread at the T cell virological synapse. (Image)

Dr Yasu Takeuchi

Dr Yasu Takeuchi (Reader)

  • Viral zoonoses, especially porcine endogenous retroviruses as potential clinical hazards in xenotransplantation.
  • Gene therapy vectorology: Safety and development of production systems of lentivirus vectors for gene delivery in collaboration with Mary Collins.

Lab members: Khaled Sanber (PhD student), Kanayo Doi (PhD student).

Professor Robin Weiss

Professor Robin Weiss (Emeritus Professor) – Current Projects

  • Broadly cross-neutralising anti-HIV-1 single chain antibodies from Llama. Llama single chain antibodies neutralise many clades (subtypes) of HIV-1. Applicable to vaccine design and for potential use as microbicides and diagnostic reagents. With Laura McCoy and Ben Webb, post-doctoral fellows. Collaboration with Theo Verrips and colleagues, University of Utrecht and QVQ Utrecht. MRC (to Dec 2012), and EU and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Lab members: Dr Laura McCoy (Postdoctoral scientist), Luke Granger (Research Assistant), Dr Ben Webb (postdoctoral scientist).

Professor Paul Kellam

Professor Paul Kellam (Honorary Professor of Viral Pathogenesis)
Sanger Institute Profile

  • Bioinformatics - prediction of protein functions and functional networks
  • CMV Pathogenesis and Development of Vaccines
  • Host and Pathogen Genomics
  • Humoral immunity to HIV, emerging infections
  • Immunopathogenesis of hepatitis B virus infection
  • Retrovirus in gene therapy and xenotransplantation

Lab members: Dr Ed Tsao (postdoctoral scientist), Dr Dan Frampton (postdoctoral scientist), Dr Eve Coulter (postdoctoral scientist).

Page last modified on 26 aug 14 13:32 by Sonja Van Praag (WAMS)