Institute of Immunity and Transplantation


Ariberto Fassati

Professor of Cellular and Molecular Virology

Research areas

  • Molecular host-virus interactions
  • Nucleocytoplasmic trafficking of viruses and tRNAs
  • Transmissible cancers

Research programme

Research summary

We investigate host-pathogen interactions by chemical genetics. Chemical genetics is an approach whereby small molecules are first screened to find 'hits' with the desired phenotype and then the hit molecule is used as a tool to identify the target by genetic and biochemical means. Using this approach, we have identified several new targets for HIV-1 infection and novel cellular pathways. Our experience is that often this kind of research leads to fundamental discoveries on the function of mammalian cells.

We use biophysical and biochemical approaches to understand the fundamental mechanisms regulating how large macromolecules, including viruses, go across the nuclear pore complex. We do this in collaboration with colleagues at the London Centre for Nanotechnology.

We also have a long-standing interest in the canine transmissible venereal tumour (CTVT), one of three clonally transmissible cancers in nature. We study the interactions between this tumour and the host immune system and how tolerance to CTVT is broken, leading to its regression. We investigate how cancer can become transmissible. We believe that CTVT may be a good model to understand the co-evolution of cancer and the immune system.


Selected publications
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