Programme 2: Viral Genome Associations with Disease

Identifying viral genetic determinants of disease outcome, transmission and resistance

Programme Co-ordinator: Prof Judy Breuer

DNA helix

The wealth of clinically and biologically phenotyped samples available within UCL Biobanks, coupled with exciting new developments in our next-generation sequencing facility, will allow us to identify genetic determinants of disease outcome, transmission and drug resistance. For the first time whole genome sequencing of low copy viral DNA isolated from clinical samples is now possible. Programme research at the Centre is now concentrating on applying these methods to:

  • Screen whole viral genomes for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with disease development or recovery in patients
  • Tailor existing treatments to target disease developments based on SNP associations
  • Develop new drugs based on novel disease associated SNP sites


The development of biobank facilities at UCL is key to furthering research of this nature. Using residual diagnostic samples, initial studies will look at screening for disease associated SNPs in HSV, VZV and EBV. It is envisioned that genetic association studies will encompass a much larger variety of disease states associated with HIV, etc. In addition to the biobanks already housed at the Royal Free campus, a new satellite bank within the Centre is currently in development. Working closely with UCL Hospitals and Great Ormond Street Hospital volunteer and residual diagnostic samples of blood, CSF, and other tissues from patients in varying states of disease development will be collected. It is anticipated that in the long term collections will also be sourced from across the UK and Europe.


  • Development of whole genome sequencing of low copy viral DNA from clinical samples
  • Identification of neurotropic variants of herpes simplex and varicella zoster virus
  • Identification of genomic polymorphisms in EBV associated with the development of lymphoma in immune deficient and post-organ transplant children


Aasa-Chapman, Marlen

Atkinson, Claire

Breuer, Prof Judy

Collins, Lauren

Depledge, Dr Daniel

Emery, Prof Vince

Gray, Dr Eleanor

Griffiths, Prof Paul

Gupta, Dr Ravindra

Hue, Dr Stephane

Kellam, Prof Paul

Lange, Camille

Lai, Imogen

Milne, Dr Richard

Pillay, Prof Deenan

Simpson, Dr Nandi

Page last modified on 22 jun 12 11:41