LMCB - MRC Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology

Jason Mercer's picture

LMCB Group Leader, UCL Reader in Viral Cell Biology

+44 (0)20 7679 3528
LMCB Room B101

Twitter @MercerLab


Viral cell biology

Research synopsis

As obligate intracellular parasites viruses intimately rely on host cell factors for all stages of their replication.  Our group is interested in deciphering the complex interactions that occur between poxviruses and their host cells during all stages of the infection cycle.
We investigate how viruses initiate their internalization by endocytosis, and how they utilize transport within cellular endocytic systems to their advantage.  We are also analyzing how the viral genome and accessory proteins escape into the cytosol, and how replication proceeds.
For these we combine cellular, molecular, and virological techniques with state-of-the-art technologies such as automated small compound and image-based siRNA screening, advanced proteomics, super-resolution, live cell microscopy, and electron microscopy. Our particular interests lie in uncovering novel mechanisms by which viruses subjugate host cell functions to facilitate their entry, replication, and spread.
Mercer lab research imageMercer lab research image

Selected publications

Gray RDM, et al (2019). Nanoscale polarization of the entry fusion complex of vaccinia virus drives efficient fusion. Nat Microbiol. Jul 8. doi: 10.1038/s41564-019-0488-4
Fisch D, et al (2019). Defining host-pathogen interactions employing an artificial intelligence workflow. Elife. Feb 12;8. pii: e40560. doi: 10.7554/eLife.40560.
Beerli C, et al (2019). Vaccinia virus hijacks EGFR signalling to enhance virus spread through rapid and directed infected cell motility. Nat Microbiol. Feb;4(2):216-225. doi: 10.1038/s41564-018-0288-2
Novy K, et al (2018). Proteotype profiling unmasks a viral signalling network essential for poxvirus assembly and transcriptional competence. Nat Microbiol. May;3(5):588-599. doi: 10.1038/s41564-018-0142-6
Culley S, et al (2018). Quantitative mapping and minimization of super-resolution optical imaging artifacts. Nat Methods. Feb 19. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.4605
Martínez-Martín D, et al (2017). Inertial picobalance reveals fast mass fluctuations in mammalian cells. Nature. Oct 25;550(7677):500-505. doi: 10.1038/nature24288

About the lab


Medical Research Council
Wellcome Trust
European Research Council

Research themes

Signalling pathways
Membrane trafficking
Viral pathogens


Light microscopy
Electron microscopy
Super-resolution microscopy
High-content screening
Electron microscopy


Laura Pokorny (PhD student)
Rebecca Bamford (PhD student)


Mark Marsh (LMCB, UK)
Ricardo Henriques (LMCB, UK)
Janos Kriston-Vizi (LMCB, UK)