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Department of Biological and Medical Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
+44 (0)1865 484160
The Biomedical and Biological Sciences Programme offers a suite of 4 high-quality, research-led science degrees (BSc Honours) that complement each other in their focus on human health, disease and healthcare. The degrees provide excellent learning, training and development oportunities for students. Graduates reach high academic and personal achievement goals, show strong competitiveness in the job market and reflect robust student satisfaction.
My role encompasses the management and continued development of the programme. I work with a strong team of lecturers who are keen to enthuse our students about the fundamentals of science and about what interests them in their research areas. I also aim link our curriculum and our students with the outlook from key stakeholders, including future employers (such as Brookes and other universities, the NHS, and healthcare / pharmaceutical industries), and relevant policy-making and professional bodies (such as the HEA, QAA, IBMS, etc).
I like to keep good contact with the students, and I am involved in teaching at all levels, including lecturing, practicals, tutorials, personal tutoriong and, as a major teaching role I co-ordinate and support research projects and work placements.
BSc and MSc teaching, with focus on molecular biology, virology.
Lead tutor for Projects (UG and PG) and Placements (UG).
My research interests include the biology of baculoviruses and their application as protein expression tools. These insect-specific viruses are harmless to humans but readily support the expression of significant amounts of proteins in laboratory cultures and in their natural caterpillar hosts. The virus has been developed for this application primarily as a result of two very strong promoters, regulating the viral polyhedrin and p10 genes, but whilst the role of the polyhedrin protein is well established, that of the p10 protein remains obscure. Knock-out and recombinant viruses are beginning to allow us to evaluate biological characteristics, and formulate possible funtions for this non-essential protein.
The use of the virus as a protein expression tool has grown over the past 30 years, but there are still a number of issues that plague users, and that prevent it being a usinversal system suitable for all appliations. Aspects of my research seek to address some of these issues, with a view to enhancing the expression system.
+GP64 is the major envelope glycoprotein associated with the budded virus (BV) of Autographa californica nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) and is essential for attachment and budding of BV particles. Confocal microscopy and flotation assays established the presence of lipid raft domains within the plasma membranes of AcMNPV-infected Sf9 cells and suggested the association of GP64 with lipid rafts during infection. GP64 and filamentous actin (F-actin) were found to co-localise at the cell cortex at 24 and 48 hpi and an additional restructuring of F-actin during infection was visualised, resulting in a strongly polarised distribution of both F-actin and GP64 at the cell cortex. Depletion of F-actin, achieved by treatment of Sf9 cells with latrunculin B (LB), resulted in the redistribution of GP64 with significant cytoplasmic aggregation and reduced presence at the plasma membrane. Treatment with LB also resulted in reduced production of BV in Sf9 cells. Analysis of virus gene transcription confirmed this reduction was not due to decreased trafficking of nucleocapsids to the nucleus or to decreased production of infectious progeny nucleocapsids. Reduced BV production due to a lack of GP64 at the plasma membrane of AcMNPV-infected Sf9 cells treated with LB, suggests a key role for F-actin in the egress of BV.
This chapter reviews recent progress to improve our understanding of baculovirus biology and replication at the cellular and whole insect levels, as well as providing an update on the exploitation of these viruses as expression and gene delivery vectors in both insect and mammalian cells. It does not discuss the ecology of baculoviruses, which is reviewed in Chapter 18, nor the use of these viruses as biocontrol agents.
American Society of Virology
Institute of Biomedical Science (Fellow)
Royal Society of Medicine (Associate)
Post-doctoral research scientist (1995-2001) - Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (formerly the Institute of Virology & Environmental Microbiology), Oxford.
Research Scientist (1991-1995) - Wellcome Research Laboratories, Langley Court, Beckenham
Clinical Research Scientist (1990-1991) - Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research, Porton Down, Salisbury