I am interested in the content, function and evolution of herpesvirus genomes. Over the years, my group has studied many herpesviruses that infect humans or other animals. The understanding gained is fundamental to research on this important family of large DNA viruses.
My current focus is on human cytomegalovirus, which is the leading infectious cause of abnormalities in newborn babies and a serious risk to people with weakened immune systems, such as transplant recipients. My group focuses on this herpesvirus as it exists in real infections, with emphases in the following areas.
- Defining the genetic content of the virus, including discovering new genes
- Characterizing the roles of specific genes during infection, including those that do not function via translation into proteins
- Investigating transcription patterns across the genome under conditions that relate to clinical situations
- Uncovering any connection that particular strains or variants may have with the outcome of disease
- Developing new tools for characterising strains or variants in clinical samples
- Studying strain dynamics in human infections
My group’s main expertise is in high throughput DNA sequencing, and we work closely with the bioinformatics team in analysing the data. Our chief collaborators are Gavin Wilkinson (Cardiff University), Thomas Schulz (Hanover Medical School) and Colin Geddes (Glasgow Western Infirmary). We are also carrying out collaborative projects on other herpesviruses, parvoviruses and parainfluenza viruses, the latter in association with Rick Randall (University of St Andrews).